April 18, 2013
Intelligent Objects for parents enable the ‘quantified baby’
Everyday objects are evolving into tech-infused smart devices with augmented functionality, a trend we’ve termed Intelligent Objects. Lately we’ve seen several examples of Intelligent Objects that enable the “quantified baby,” helping parents better understand and respond to a baby’s health and other needs.
Sproutling, currently in development, is a wearable ankle sensor that tracks heart rate, temperature and sleeping position. If the device detects anything out of the ordinary, it will alert parents or care givers with a push notification, SMS or phone call. The aim is to “give parents peace of mind,” as Sproutling CEO Chris Bruce remarked in an interview with GigaOM, providing an automatic layer of vigilance for parents anxious about worst-case scenarios like Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Similarly, SafeToSleep’s Sleep and Breathing Monitor is a sensor-embedded sleep mat that syncs with care givers’ smartphones and sends alerts if irregular breathing is detected. It can also track sleep time and quality.
Taking a different approach, Exmobaby is a onesie that helps parents track a baby’s “mood” by monitoring skin temperature, heartbeat and movement. The idea is to let parents know when a child is hungry, tired or not feeling well. Parents can view the results via a smartphone app or request email or text updates.
As more Intelligent Objects come onto the market, we’ll see them helping us better understand and keep track of ourselves, our surroundings (e.g., the intelligent home) and our loved ones, from the youngest members of the family to the oldest (and even the pets). Personalized, actionable recommendations will help to empower people using this technology, but at the same time, expect concerns around data privacy, battery safety and other issues to rise.