Sensors and smartphones bring the baby monitor into 2013
June 11, 2013 8:00 am by Deanna Pogorelc
This company has a tempting and comforting value proposition for new parents: around-the-clock baby monitoring without so much sleep deprivation.
Sensible Baby, which was born out of Startup Weekend Boston just three months ago, is hoping its high-tech onesie could calm some of parents’ anxiety around sudden infant death syndrome. SIDS is the leading cause of deaths among infants between the ages of one and 12 months old.
Of course there are mobile audio and video monitors that parents use to keep an eye on their newborns when they’re sleeping, but these monitors still require constant, active monitoring by the parents. Other products like motion clips and pressure pads can become worthless if the newborn moves around too much.
The Sensible Baby team calls its solution Smart One. It’s a round sensor that’s a little bigger than a silver dollar, and it’s housed in a onesie worn by a newborn. It fits into a chest pocket in a way that’s difficult for a child to remove, but relatively easy for a parent to get out if necessary, said co-founder Ben Cooper.
The sensor constantly measures a baby’s temperature, position and chest movement, and sends that data to a smartphone app once per second. Parents can program their app to set off an alert when the baby isn’t moving, reaches a temperature above a certain threshold, or is sleeping on her stomach.
Cooper said the device uses low-energy Bluetooth technology, runs on a battery with a lifespan of about six months and would cost less than $10 to produce in large quantities.
Company co-founders Cooper, Jeff Tagen, Jill Ju and Jack Sivak met in March at Startup Weekend Boston, where the theme was new uses for sensors. “In the matter of 54 hours, we were able to put together a working prototype,” Cooper said. “During our pitch, we had a product that actually worked.”
Now, the team is testing the device with new parents. Over the next several months, they’ll be working with mentors through MassChallenge to refine the design and do some more in-depth market research, Cooper said.
The company also just learned it was selected as a FOUNDER.org $100K Ideas winner, which means it will have a $100,000 grant to work with and even more access to mentors.
“Our plan is to validate our idea and our place within the market, and in the coming months, get small scale manufacturing together so we can get the product out to customers,” Cooper said.
He added that the company is positioning Smart One as a consumer product, not a medical device, so it will eventually be sold directly to consumers and through baby boutiques.