Everything is connected: cars, houses, devices, and toys. Even though we spend nearly all day online, no one is waiting for connected humans – for example through sensors in our body. But animals and babies are paving the way: first with wearables, sensors and smart apps. Generally, gadgets are only successful in the long run if they are easy to use and clearly have added value. No one is dependent on a smartwatch, but now almost nobody can manage without a navigation app. Innovations also have a high chance of being adopted if they appeal to our fears. Fear and babies: a good combination, as babies are vulnerable. Inventors and manufacturers are doing their utmost to convince parents: without technology your child will be unnecessarily exposed to a myriad of dangers.
Alert: don’t forget your child
No one wants to be blamed later for problems that could have been prevented if someone had intervened in time. For example, by monitoring the child’s language development, by testing food or attaching a sensor to the child that shows your child is still sitting in the car – while you wander around a shopping mall. American parents are subtly being told that every nine days a child dies of heat stroke as a result of being left in a car. The Evenflo SensorSafe gives a striking alert once you arrive at your destination to help remind you that your child is still in his or her seat. Another version of this sensor is the Buddy Tag, which makes sure that your lost child can be found (‘ideal during outings with kids to amusement parks or shopping malls’). The tag also gives a signal if your child falls into the water. In addition, the Buddy Tag has a ‘Panic Button’ for the child.
Monitoring your kids
To monitor the growth and development of your child you can start with Starling, a sensor that you attach to your child’s clothing. Starling promises to make the educator a better parent – and also make the child smarter. The sensor counts the number of words that the child hears each day. How Starling achieves this is not very clear. The matching smartphone app uses the data measured to come up with suggestions for interacting more with your child. This prevents parents from becoming preoccupied with themselves or their smartphones instead of attending to their child. Starling is certainly contradictory. The same applies to a lot of smart tech that focuses on educating children: for parents there’s an app. The Cognoa app goes much further and uses the entire development of the child as a starting point. Cognoa enables parents to avoid getting help too late, which results in disorders not being diagnosed in time. The app is a virtual test: parents answer a number of questions and have to upload two short videos. On the basis of machine learning the app checks for developmental delays or signs of autism. The app presents a report that parents can hand to a doctor. The social component ensures that parents with similar questions can keep in touch. ‘Peace of mind for great parents’, promises the app: a real fearbuster.
Big data diapers: also connected
Some apps even use changing a diaper as a starting point for collecting a host of data. The Smart Changing Pad is a diaper changing pad with a built-in wireless smart scale and touch screen. The weight, number of feeds and total quantity of clean diapers are enough for the accompanying smartphone app to give parents an insight into whether their child is eating and growing healthily. Ideal for parents who want to monitor the physical care of their child: is the nanny feeding our baby enough? And the following obviously applies to all connected baby-tech: who else has access to the data collected?
Fisher Price, also known for the smart toy hack, has a connected booster seat in its range. Put your child in the booster seat and use your smartphone to control different settings, play sixteen different songs and nature sounds and operate a revolving mobile. Likely to be a success with fathers. And with Nima, food purists can find out within two minutes whether the food they want to feed their child contains gluten. The software is also linked to a smartphone app. Tests for milk protein and peanuts are also in the works.
Smart pills to get the best out of your connected kid
The agricultural sector is already a few steps ahead and besides smart tags is also using smart pills. Quantified Ag is using sensors to monitor the cattle growth; Vital Herd has developed a smart pill (known as an insidable) that remains in the stomach of a dairy cow for its entire life and gives readings on temperature, stomach acidity, hormones and oxygen intake. It may take a while, but it’s coming: the insidable for your growing child. So you can be sure to get the best out of your child.