This product’s pitch is aimed at exhausted parents who are at the end of their tether when it comes to soothing their baby to sleep. But is an infant-securing, head-jiggling, app-controlled, parent-free contraption really a good idea?
Let’s get the facts before we decide how we feel about this crib.
The SNOO Smart Sleeper is a world-first robotic, AI baby bed. Developed by paediatrician and baby sleep expert, Dr. Harvey Karp (he of The Happiest Baby on the Block fame) and design team, Fuseproject for the Happiest Baby brand, it’s definitely Instagram-pretty, but is it really what parents want?
The SNOO team certainly think so, citing exhausted parents across the globe as their design inspiration.
“This was a product we developed with Harvey from the ground up,” Fuseproject founder Yves Behar says. “It wasn’t technology looking for an application, but a human problem we’re trying to solve.”
How it works
The SNOO Smart Sleeper’s AI and robotics technology detects when a baby is beginning to fuss or cry, its makers say, responding with ‘gentle’ movement and white noise. These are strategies that Dr Karp recommends and the team were keen to develop a stylish product that incorporated his baby-sleep ethos.
Stylish it certainly is, with a clean wooden bassinet, mid-century inspired hairpin legs and a minimalist straitjacket … we mean swaddle, for the baby in question.
But we’re not convinced that robots should rule the babies.
While we understand infants love to be rocked to sleep, we’re not sure this robotic jiggle mimics the comfort and closeness of a parent’s rocking arms very accurately. It’s very ‘arms-length’ and the baby’s head is not cushioned in any way (obviously for other SIDS-related safety reasons) resulting in a LOT of wobbling about. The SNOO’s swaddle suit seems to hold the baby in position extremely robustly, too. It’s giving us anxiety.
The wi-fi-enabled bassinet comes with an app to control it, and while we figure the proof is in the pudding, there’s something very ‘hands off’ about this whole situation that gives us the chills.
Years in the making
The SNOO team have been toiling away for five years, coming up with the world’s first robot crib. They’ve tested it on over 300 babies and say, “It reduces cry, boosts sleep and prevents rolling over. That makes SNOO the safest, most effective baby bed ever made.”
“Reduces cry?” Hmm.
As is often the case with ground-breaking, entrepreneurial developments, the product’s got a bunch of celebrity endorsements. SNOO tell us that Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Scarlett Johansson have given the robot crib a big thumbs up.
If you are seeking to pop your baby in an Instagram-fab bed, swaddle her within an inch of her life and use your smartphone to jiggle the bejeezus out of her as she’s serenaded with something resembling the noise of your washing machine, you are so in luck.
Just keep in mind that this baby costs over US$1000 and can only be used for the first few months of your baby’s life. It’s down to you to do the swaddle and jiggle after that.