Believe it or not, that little gadget around this baby’s ankle is a baby monitor. The world-first “smart-sock” relays vital information like a baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels to a smartphone. And it’s not a pipe dream – in fact, it’s about to hit the market. It seems as each month goes past, another amazing baby monitor becomes available. The Owlet Vitals Monitor has to be one of the most tech savvy designs we’ve ever seen. It’s come to fruition through a crowd-funding project, and the monitor is set to begin shipping next month.
The technology is very similar to that used in hospitals to monitor premature babies (however it’s not being marketed as a medical device, but a health and well-being option). It transmits information including sleep quality, skin temperature and sleep position (rollover alerts) to smartphones or other internet-based devices.
The monitor is designed to be used by newborns through to children who are 12 months old, but will continue to work for as long as it fits on the child’s foot. It’s actually been tested on infants up to two years old. This device seems to take the guess work out of many concerns parents have: the child’s safety in relation to breathing, whether their baby is too hot or cold, and even what position the baby is sleeping in. Those first few weeks as a parents can fray anyone’s nerves, so being able to monitor these things remotely seems like absolute genius.
The monitor can be ordered directly through Owlet for US$250, or US$399 for a limited edition model, and shipping to Australia is available for an extra cost. All products are expected to ship in November. The Owlet Team says it’s going through the process of adding an alarm and some other features for the next version of the monitor. They’re also keen to help researchers gather data on infant health, if parents opt to have their child’s data used anonymously.