Baby monitors have been around for ages, and even monitoring your child away from home seems like old news. So what are the latest innovations in keeping your child safe? Here are four examples of how designers are applying technology to the youngest among us.
The Sproutling is essentially a wearable monitor that communicates with an app to transmit heart rate, skin temperature, motion and position. It's safe for the baby and has a smart charger that also gives information about the room in which the baby is sleeping. But the truly helpful aspect is knowing within minutes how much longer your child is going to be sleeping based on breathing patterns. It's currently sold out, but you can be added to the waitlist.
The Mimo embeds the respirations sensors necessary to monitor your baby’s breathing, body position, sleep activity, and skin temp in a onesie that then communicates with a "lilypad" hub. The hub transmits that data to an app (a common theme among baby devices), and also has the ability to livestream audio. The downside to the Mimo is that the data is dependent on the "turtle," which means monitoring only happens when your baby is wearing the onesie instead of an easily transferred bracelet.
It's one thing to keep your child safe at home, and an entirely different thing to monitor your kid out in the unpredictable and sometimes hostile world. The Wheresie is a simple concept: a Bluetooth LE interfaces with an app. Bluetooth has about a 30 foot range, so when that signal is lost, the app transmits an alert to the parent or caregiver. A good idea, but making the Wheresie have a pinpointable location easily tracked on the app would improve the concept.
The Angelcare's sensors lie beneath your baby's mattress to detect movement; if there isn't any for over 20 seconds, the system sends an alarm to your phone. In addition to movement monitoring, however, the Angelcare AC1200 also allows you to talk back to your child (most monitors are one-way) and see a live stream through your smartphone anywhere in the world. You can also take pictures and videos through the monitor.
Those are only four examples in a market that hasn't been fully tapped and is due for an overhaul. Sensors need to be integrated into clothing and bottles and strollers, but the revolution there is slow in coming. While there are many wearable watches for youngsters that deliver GPS tracking, kidnappers can easily remove them. A smarter idea would be nearly imperceptible tracking devices that can be slipped into a shoe or sock or even into hairbands. There are still countless ideas that could make children safer and happier: it's up to designers to invent them.