Pregnant women can now alert fellow travellers to their need for a seat on public transport using a new ‘smart’ baby on board app.
‘Babee on Board’, which has been developed by 10x, a London-based innovation firm, is an app that can be used to send a notification to smartphones within a 15 foot radius which means commuters that opt-in are notified when a pregnant woman needs a seat, even if they’re busy looking at their phones.
As the system uses Bluetooth technology, it works underground without the need for a signal or wifi. The technology is now in a London pilot, before being rolled out worldwide.
Babee on Board requires two apps to work. ‘Request Seat’ is for pregnant women who want to request a seat and ‘Offer Seat’ is for commuters who want to offer their seat.
After pressing the button in the Request Seat app a notification is sent to the companion app, Babee on Board: Offer Seat, which says: “Heads up! There’s a pregnant person nearby who might need a seat”.
The Request Seat app costs £3.99 and 100% of profits from it will be donated to Project Healthy Children. Developers say they are charging for the app to deter pranksters. The offer seat app is offered free.
Once downloaded, the app never needs to be opened, and takes up just 7mb of space, plus it’s extremely energy efficient, using less than 1% of battery life.
Both apps are available on iOS now, with Android versions due to be released in early 2017.
Hew Leith, CEO of 10x, said: “A year ago an 80 year-old woman, who was sat next to me on a busy London Underground train, got up and offered her seat to a heavily pregnant woman. I was mortified. I was too engrossed on my smartphone to notice anything. So as soon as I let the older woman have my seat, I began racking my brains for a solution. By the time the Tube train pulled into the platform at Moorgate, I had the idea to use beacon bluetooth notifications so pregnant people could let commuters know they’d like a seat.
“Babee on Board is a simple way to help pregnant women get a seat on public transport and remove any awkwardness for commuters.”
10x is speaking to a number of brands about integrating the technology into their apps and operating systems. This would enable millions of devices to listen out for Babee on Board notifications. Apps like Google Maps, Apple Maps and Citymapper and Uber could easily include a Babee on Board option in their settings so more pregnant women could get a seat on public transport.
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