Hawaii graduate designs wearable tech that could help prevent stillbirths

Hawaii graduate designs wearable tech that could help prevent stillbirths

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When Nathan Neeley’s wife, Bianca, was pregnant she wore a small wrap around her midsection that counted the times their unborn baby kicked.

"Sensors are embedded inside a maternity-band like design. It's very comfortable for mom," Neeley said.

The Brigham Young University-Hawaii graduate enlisted the help of others to design a passive wearable pregnancy monitor Neeley named Rubi.

The sensors expand every time the baby moves.

That information goes to a Smarphone app that counts the kicks and keeps them in a record.

“It will track and know what it was like at week 27, 28, 29 ― what’s normal for your baby,” Neeley said.

If those patterns change drastically, the app would alert the mother. Doctors recommend kick counting as a way to monitor an unborn baby’s health in the last trimester of pregnancy.

Neeley said his invention can provide information for physicians that could help determine if a baby is in jeopardy.

"Even though dozens of wearable products have come out to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, nothing had come out to aid mothers with stillbirths," Neeley said.

Neeley and BYU professor Anton Bowden fine-tuned the final design.

"We've tested it on numerous women who have all been able to see the kick count of their baby," he said.

Rubi was entered into state, national and international competitions, and won startup of the year at London's Wearable Tech Show.

"It helps with validation for the product and need for it across the world," Neeley said.

The monitoring device is about to go into a clinical trial, where it will be tested on 50 pregnant women. Neeley will then submit Rubi for FDA approval.

He hopes to have it available for purchase by the end of the year.

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