Google Glass breastfeeding app trial
Baby Eve with Georgia for the Breastfeeding Support Project
|Founded||March 1st, 2014|
|Members||27 total: 5 mothers, 7 project team members and 15 counsellors|
The Breastfeeding with Google Glass app trial began in Australia on March 1, 2014, utilizing a wearable technology computing device, Google Glass, to provide live video counseling and an informational portal to support women with breastfeeding.
The Google Glass breastfeeding trial program was developed in collaboration with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and Melbourne technology company, Small World Social. It was the world’s first hands-free program on breastfeeding basics and tutorials using a wearable computing device.
The trial lasted 7 weeks, commencing on March 1 and ending on April 13, 2014. There were five mothers and their newborn babies in the trial, fifteen volunteer counselors from the Australian Breastfeeding Association, and seven project team members from Small World Social. The counselors were located in five States across Australia. The counselors were certified in lactation consultation, and located as far from the mothers as Perth, Western Australia, 3,500 kilometers away. While physically distant from the mothers, the counselors provided support using video calls with Google Glass, live on demand.
According to media commentary, the breastfeeding project demonstrated the potential of wearable devices to provide ways for communities to deliver health and family support services across vast distances. The demonstrated positive uses of such devices contrasted widespread criticism over privacy concerns which such devices. An article in the motherboard magazine Vice stated, "Google Glass, whether warranted or not, endures its fair share of criticism, largely because a lot of initial use cases have been, well, kinda creepy. So it's great to instead see Glass being used for uniquely positive ends, as it is with the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Breastfeeding Support Project." Other journalists and commentators also called the trial beneficial and an innovative application wearable technologies. Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist/presenter Penny Johnston of the Babytalk radio program remarked, "The Google Glass if you think about it, is perfect to coach someone in breast feeding: if you are holding or feeding a baby, imagine a camera mounted on your glasses and look down. There you have the world's best view for checking the baby's latch and your breastfeeding technique!"
The trial participants found the technology approach helpful. Sarah-Jane Bailey, one of the mothers involved in the project, was eager to participate with her son Patrick, after struggling to breastfeed her previous children. "Whenever I was having any issues with my breastfeeding, I was able to video call a breastfeeding counselor who could then see what I was seeing and help me correct his latch," Sarah-Jane Bailey said "being able to call and have that support whenever I needed it was invaluable."
|1. Sarah-Jane Bailey||1. Madeline Sands – Project Leader|
|2. Lauren Clarke||2. Kim Jensen – Interactional Designer & Videographer|
|3. Cath Sharples||3. Ethan Fan – Engineer|
|4. Emma Crowder ||4. Elloise Foster – Communications & Marketing|
|5. Laura Loricco ||5. Lucy Colman – Research and Business Analyst|
|6. Tony Kerr – Hardware|
|7. Andrew Hibberd – Head of Film – Motion Graphics|
The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) counselors were located in five states across Australia.
In May 2014, Small World Social and the ABA won the Gold Questar Award in the Emerging Media: App section, for the Breastfeeding with Google Glass App. In June 2014, Small World Social's Breastfeeding Support Project was awarded the Questar Best of Category Grand Prize For Emerging Media, which is given to the top 5% of entries.
The ABA is optimistic about the future of wearable technologies supporting their work. Small World Social is working with the organization on a plan to launch a broader program of support during 2014. Small World Social is planning to commence a trial in the USA in June 2014.
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