The Dot: Brilliant Low Cost “Wearable” Leverages Culture to Save Indian Women’s Lives

A new take on wearable technologies: The familiar red forehead dot – or bindi – has been a traditional symbol of beauty in India and other countries in Southeast Asia for centuries. Now the cultural adornment doubles as a slow-release iodine patch, potentially saving the lives of millions of women in rural communities with iodine deficiencies and no other access to the much-needed supplement.

The idea is brilliant and should be an inspiration for others. It utilizes a pervasive, positive, and widely accepted cultural practice – wearing bindis – and does not require any change in existing behavior. In fact, it fits seamlessly into the daily routines of millions of Indian women who already wear bindis on a regular basis.

What other everyday wearables can double as a life-saving medical device?

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More details here, from GOOD Magazine: Most people across the United States and throughout the developed world get their body’s requisite dose of iodine by way of their diet (think “iodized salt”). For those whose diets don’t provide enough of this hormone-regulating chemical, supplements can help boost the body’s iodine levels. In parts of rural India, however, those supplements can be both prohibitively expensive, and hard to come by. Enter “The Life Saving Dot,” a specially engineered iodine patch that is indistinguishable from the ubiquitous colored bindis worn by women across South-East Asia.  The Life-Saving Dot was created through a partnership between Grey For Good, the philanthropic arm of the Grey Group Singapore communications firm, the Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Centre and Talwar Bindi manufacturers.