First-time parents can often feel overwhelmed by the arrival of their new bundle of joy, flabbergasted by the mountains of dirty diapers and extra washing, and dazed by the pure lack of sleep. As if that was not enough to turn their comparatively previous straightforward lives upside-down, the anxiety of checking up on the every move of their newborn can be enough to send them into a spiral of insanity. But help is at hand with a new wearable baby monitor from a company aptly entitled "Sproutling."
Wearable devices that track and monitor personal health have exploded onto the market in recent years, ranging from devices that measure heart rate and blood pressure to those that track steps and calories.
Medical News Today recently reported on a wearable device that uses breathing patterns to track state of mind. The device monitors the wearer's breath so that it can notify them when they are becoming stressed or unfocused. The makers claim that this insight helps the wearer to be more productive. They also say that the device helps to lower stress and inspires the wearer to move more throughout their day.
The familiar baby monitors that look like oversized "walkie-talkies" have evolved since the first design in the late 1930s. They now include video imaging to provide a visual real-time image of the child, and even infrared LEDs to allow the parent to see the baby in a dark room. They can also utilize features such as night-lights and built-in lullabies.
However, the new device from Sproutling goes one step further than all previous monitors by combining a wearable band, smart charger and mobile app to "monitor, learn and predict your baby's sleep habits and optimal sleep conditions" - taking some of the guesswork out of parenting.
Around 130 million babies are born each year worldwide, with almost 4 million of those births in the US alone. Sproutling wants to be the first smart baby monitor to be personalized to each baby and collect unique "well-being" insights to predict a baby's sleep pattern, room conditions and even their mood.
Monitor gathers 16 measurements each second
Comprised of three connected devices, the Sproutling Baby Monitor gathers 16 different measurements every second and is designed to help parents know how their baby is doing when there is no movement or noise, or at times when a parent cannot pay full attention to a monitor.
The wearable band
The soft, breathable, hypoallergenic and washable band sits around the baby's ankle and is equipped with a smart sensor that senses heart rate, skin temperature, motion and sleep position. The sensor is cleverly shaped to avoid choking hazard as well as being encapsulated in medical-grade silicone, fully sealed. Three sizes of band are included as the baby develops and grows.
A separate smart charger placed in the baby's room wirelessly charges the band, making it even more hassle-free for parents; simply drop the band in the charging bowl and it powers up. The sophisticated charger is equipped to monitor the baby's environment, such as temperature of the room, humidity, sounds and light to optimize the baby's sleep conditions for better sleep.
The mobile app
A mobile app communicates the insights gathered by the band and charger, and sends real-time notifications to parents indicating if the baby is sound asleep or awake, if the baby has rolled over, or is experiencing significant changes in heart rate or skin temperature.
Ultimately, all these gained insights can give parents an idea of when their baby is likely to wake up, allowing them to make informed decisions about how to spend their time.
It informs parents if the baby's room is too noisy or too hot, provides recommendations on the best time to put baby to sleep and when baby wakes up, parents will be notified if baby is calm, fussy or angry before they even walk into the room. "This information is aimed at making parenting a little easier," note Sproutling.
Is the Sproutling Baby Monitor safe?
Sproutling - invented by a team of new parents and former engineers at Apple and Google, along with the help of child pediatric specialists and PhD scientists - was designed to be safe for baby and easy for parents to use.
For example, the band is designed to be safe on the baby's skin, hypoallergenic and breathable. There are no toxic glues used, and the sensor is made out of medical-grade material that is safe for baby.
Sproutling is designed to be comfortable, without any sharp edges, exposed wires or metal contacts.
The battery is fully encapsulated in a metal shell to ensure no leaks and is wirelessly charged with no hazardous small parts.
Bluetooth Low Energy radio technology is used in the device, roughly 1,200 times weaker than most mobile phone radio waves present in most homes. The radio signal operates infrequently, and the radio energy is directed away from baby's body.
Currently, the device has been tested for 2 years, and by the time the product is shipped in early 2015, it will have undergone thousands of hours of testing with many different babies.
Sproutling co-founder Chris Bruce comments:"Parents have been relying on baby monitors for over 75 years and in that time, they fundamentally haven't changed at all. They continue to be a poor extension of parents' eyes and ears and require constant attention to see if your baby is moving or making noise."
"As parents ourselves, we wanted something that could tell us how our baby was doing when they weren't moving or making noise and when we were unable to pay full attention, like when showering or sleeping. We created the Sproutling Baby Monitor to be smarter and help parents be more effective, and we really hope our product will instill confidence in parents so they can grow happy families."
Sproutling, founded in 2012 in San Francisco, CA, will be releasing the Sproutling Baby Monitor in the US and Canada in early 2015, retailing at $299. The company has set a pre-sales goal of $50,000, and the device is available to pre-order now at a price of $249.