According to industry estimates, West Africa
holds 188 million mobile subscribers.
Mobile does not necessarily mean smartphone
but it does mean that
a) a lot of people in West Africa are connected to
the Internet, often via text messaging, and that
b) a lot of people, especially younger generations,
use Bluetooth to share and spread music.
It has even been said that “In much of West
Africa, cell phones are used as all purpose
In other words, people in West Africa are well
familiar with text messaging and Bluetooth as
ways to gather and share information.
Knowing this, we came up with a tool/toy
that alerts people the minute someone they
know starts showing Ebola symptoms.
It is a take on the well-known, universally loved mood
ring, complete with built-in Bluetooth connection.
These rings are very cheap to make, which makes mass
The temperature sensors sit on the inside of the ring, so
that they are not altered by the sun or other heat sources,
and the Bluetooth sensor runs like a ribbon around the
We’ll hand out RingAround mood rings to everyone
who wants one.
(if you have kids, or have ever been a kid, you’ll know
why this will be a success).
When the ring detects the bearer’s phone, it will
connect to the Bluetooth.
If the wearer gets a fever, the
ring will immediately notice
the change in temperature
and notify the phone.
The phone, in turn, will automatically send out
text messages to all contacts in the phone
book, and to the local CDC oce.
The text message will alert people to stay away
from the wearer until it has been conrmed
whether he or she has Ebola.
Thanks to the constant Bluetooth connection,
the mood ring will continually send information
to CDC about the person’s condition.
If the fever goes away, the phone will send out a
new message letting the contacts know that it
was a false alarm. If instead the fever rises, the
CDC knows exactly where the person is, and
they can also send back text messages with
personalized suggestions and advice.
RingAround mood rings are cheap to make,
instantly appealing, and ll a very specic
They use technology already available, make it
easier for the CDC or other institutions to send
targeted help, and always alert the people most
susceptible to get infected — the friends of
people who are already sick.
The Insomniacs Who Dream