Project Details

Baby with Teddy the Guardian

Teddy the Guardian

Huggable paediatric technology

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @TeddyGuardian

  • Health
  • Mobile
  • Physical Computing

The second medical teddy to make an appearance in the Social Tech Guide  – but whereas Jerry the Bear has been designed to educate children about diabetes, this ted is diagnostic: inside its paws are sensors that track a child’s vital signs each time he or she takes his hands or puts his paws to their forehead. 

These sensors give health professionals readings of heart rate, oxygen saturation, body temperature and stress levels, sent by Bluetooth to a tablet, smartphone or web application. But why use a teddy to do this? 

Apparently, the stress of medical examinations tends to skew these sorts of data readings to such an extent that they are unusable. ‘What nurses actually do,’ says CEO Josipa Majić, ‘is give the child a cuddly toy as a distraction. So we thought, why not let the bear do the nurse’s job?’ 

The teddy, which has sensors in each arm, a data unit in his belly and a fur exterior you can wash at 90 degrees to stop cross-contamination in hospitals, retails at $169. It takes between five and seven seconds for him to generate a reading (nurses tell the child they’ll feel better if they squeeze the toy’s paw) and on average it does this five times an hour. This increases the accuracy of data because the child is in a neutral emotional state, and the number of readings – up to 70 a day – means that doctors can better establish trends or track improvements. It also cuts nurse time by 90 minutes. 

The teddy was developed by Majić and fellow Zagreb University graduate student Ana Burica. They’ve taken €500,000 in pre-orders since July 2013 (chiefly from big US pharmaceutical companies which are donating them to hospitals) and began shipping in April. The toy’s target age group is 2 to 6, and it is programmed to play their favourite song. ‘It’s Disneyland meets hospital,’ says Majić.

Image courtesy of E-Health Reporter

Last updated: 11th of June, 2014

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