Sproutling: The Fitbit of baby monitors that can predict when your baby will wake up
A new baby monitor designed to predict when a baby is expected to wake up will go on sale in the new year.
Sproutling, which hopes to give parents a little extra peace of mind, is a baby monitor that will monitor a baby's movement, heart rate, and skin temperature rather than just allowing you listen out for what it is doing while it's sleeping. The new monitor will also be able to track the room's ambient temperature, humidity, and light levels.
Citing that a lot of today's baby monitors are "plasticky junk" and that there is "a generational shift in parenting" as more and more people that are used to having apps for everything start to have children, two dads from San Francisco have created what they believe is the ultimate baby monitor.
In development for the last three years, the team includes a number of ex-Apple and Google engineers, as well as, the lead designer of the original Bugaboo pram.
During a Skype call to Pocket-lint from the company's San Francisco offices, Chris Bruce, dad of two and the company's founder and CEO, explained: "Parents use the existing baby monitors as a extension of their eyes and ears."
The technology works by tracking your baby's sleep patterns, which the devices learns over the first two weeks and then using that data, relays the information in a useable way to an accompanying iPhone app so the parent can monitor the baby's situation without having to disturb the child.
But rather than just work with data set in stone, the system also takes into account live data such as the noise in the room, the temperature, or whether or not the baby had a sleep earlier in the day.
"A lot of the work has been done to remove the wall of data such a device could present. It's all about using that data for recommendations. What is normal for your child and then surfacing data as to not present anxiety," adds Bruce.
Taking this data and applying it to a specific sleep model the company has developed using medical studies as recently as 2013, it has been able to create a system that effectively can let you know when your baby will wake up, and whether you've got enough time to do one more chore before it does.
"We've focused our efforts on sleeping. So we are expecting kids to wear it during sleep, with the algorithm learning as the child grows so it can work over a number of years. It can also determine between daytime naps and nighttime sleeps."
Bruce says that after two weeks of using the system, Sproutling will have learnt how your baby sleeps and will be able to accurately predict when they will wake up.
"We built a statistical model that works on a standard expectation and then we monitor your kid so within two weeks we have a very good understanding of how your kid sleeps. New research has allowed us to create a model for different sleep states and based on the predicted measurements, we can work out when and how the kid will sleep."
Due out at the start of 2015 in the US and Canada and then shortly after in the UK, the monitor will come with three different ankle straps to allow for your child to grow and a base station that also doubles as a wireless charger.
"For parents with busy lives and children, the knowledge that they have an extra 10 minutes before their child will wake up is really useful," explains Bruce.
All the hardware relays the data to an accompanying iPhone app (an Android app is also promised) and parents will not only be able to see what's happening at any given time, but also get notification updates that their child is about to wake, or has woken. The app will even go as far as suggesting optimal sleep times based on when the last sleep was.
But can it really be that accurate?
"We believe that we are very good at being accurate," confirms Bruce, confident that the company's technology will work.
It's one of the reasons the company hasn't turned, like so many others in recent months, to Kickstarter opting instead to get the product right before selling it. In an even more "wanting to get it right" approach, pre-orders will be limited too so Sproutling can make sure the first customers are happy before opening up for more orders.
And why an ankle strap? Not because they wanted to be yet another wearable company, but because it is the best way to solve the problem. The company looked at a mat in the cot, but soon realised that babies sleep in all sorts of places rather than just the bed.
But the Sproutling, which will cost $299 ($249 if you pre-order from the company's website), is just the start. The company is keen to expand the line of products they offer once they've got Sproutling off the ground.
"In the future we want to provide more information beyond the sleep phase," states the father of two. "We have other products in the pipeline that will work in other areas within the kids arena."
Sproutling is being coy as to what those products are, but for now it is concentrating on getting the company's first device to consumers. "Parents have no clue about how long their kids are going to sleep," concludes Bruce. "Now with our products they do."
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