Can This Teddy Bear Help Keep Your Kids Healthy?

January 23, 2014

12:32 pm

At first glance, Teddy the Guardian looks like another teddy bear – it’s adorable and all you want to do is cuddle with it in bed. Looks can be deceiving, though. Teddy is essentially a real-life version of a Care Bear – one that will help monitor the health of your child.

On the outside, Teddy the Guardian is indeed a teddy bear. On the inside, the cute little thing is filled with sensors to track a kid’s vital signs. When a child interacts with Teddy – such as, say, hugging the bear or holding its paw (sensors are located on the bear’s arms and its stomach)- it measures the child’s heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, and temperature. This data can then be relayed to wirelessly to any device.

“If there was a main mission for Teddy, it’s to turn a stressful experience into a kind of Disneyland experience,” says co-founder Josipa Majić. “We’re trying to make the experience [of gathering health data from children] less stressful for everyone.”

According to Majić, medical tech tends to be complicated – more complicated than necessary. There are often too many features that are too difficult to operate without guidance. Simply: the technology is not intuitive for anyone using those devices. Traditional data collection equipment in this industry doesn’t take into account how users will interact with devices.

“Nobody is really thinking about the end user and their personal experience. What we’re doing is bring[ing] it into a shape that a certain demographic [children] can actually understand.”

For the end user, merely being surrounded by medical equipment can skew their vital signs – obviously very problematic when it comes to providing the right kind of medical care. Especially when dealing with young children, nurses and doctors frequently encounter stressed-out kids. Teddy the Guardian affords pediatric departments with a more accurate way of gathering measurements.

Teddy is just another teddy bear…except not.

“Teddy the Guardian is a way for gamifying the procedure of gathering this medical data. We’re trying to make it more fun and we’re always looking on how to incentivize the child to play with it more.”

Majić says that the focus for them is to find more ways that kids can interact with Teddy. Right now the bear can play songs, but at CES earlier this month, they presented a version of Teddy the Guardian with a beating heart that matches the heart rate of the person holding it. It’s these kinds of features that the company is looking into – features that both establish a more emotional connection and educate kids about their own health.

Right now, the company is only focused on selling Teddy to medical institutions. They plan to open up to the consumer market by the end of the year. Initially founded in Croatia, the company incorporated in London, and will move out to Silicon Valley in Q1 of this year.

Find out more about Teddy the Guardian.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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