Babies don't come with instruction manuals, so the saying goes. But technology is promising to lend new parents a helping hand in the form of Sproutling, a smart baby monitor that keeps parents abreast of baby’s physical status, conditions in the baby’s room, and learns from baby's past behavior to provide specialized suggestions to sleep-deprived parents.
The Sproutling system consists of three components; a breathable, washable band made from medical-grade, hypoallergenic silicone that the baby wears around his or her ankle; a dish that wirelessly recharges the wearable band and also monitors the room’s environmental conditions; and the Sproutling app, which collates all the data into useable observations and push notifications. All three are brought together via a home Wi-Fi network.
According to its creators, the system collects 16 different measurements a second, including baby's heart rate, temperature, position and movement, along with the humidity, noise, and light conditions of the room.
A parent using the iOS or Android phone app can expect to see estimates of how long the baby will sleep based on past behavior, whether the baby’s room is too loud, notifications when the baby awakes and what his or her mood is like, and whether the baby is experiencing an altered heartbeat or temperature.
Recently we've seen a stork’s beakfull of baby-related gadgets that attempt to improve on traditional audio and video baby monitors that require parents to actively listen or watch to know if something is amiss. The Owlet smart sock is cheaper but simpler than Sproutling, the Edison-powered Mimo, aka the "internet of baby things," attempts to coordinate smart devices related to baby’s needs, and the Omni Smart Care system is more of a traditional (if amped up) baby webcam with data tracking features.
The Sproutling team, containing some Apple and Google alumni and, more importantly, some new parents, say their product is different from the host of baby monitors and apps making their way to market because Sproutling doesn’t just offer graphs and data, but has an approach similar to Nest’s home automation, learning and evolving as it tracks past baby behaviors.
The Sproutling team stresses that the system is not a thermometer, heart monitor, or a medical device, and thus does not need FDA approval at this time. The band is suggested for ages 0-18 months, or as long the baby will wear the band, and can be reassigned to subsequent children when the first outgrows it.
Multiple babies can also be monitored within the one app, provided they have their own band. The sensors can also be removed from the band for washing or for switching between the three different sized bands included with the system.
Those interested in becoming, in the words of the company, “a life-living, sleep-having, baby-raising badass” can preorder Sproutling for US$249, with first deliveries expected in March 2015. After pre-orders, the price will rise to $299.
Below is Sproutling’s pitch video which questions why competent, experienced adults are afraid of something as simple as a baby and how Sproutling can change that.