Now that wearable fitness monitors have gained a mature foothold in the tech world, it was only a matter of time before this technology found its way into the nursery. Rest Devices has entered that market with the Mimo Baby. Featured prominently in the Intel Accelerate Innovation booth at CES, Mimo is a wearable monitor that moves far beyond the webcams and walkie-talkies that have defined the product space to this point.
Mimo Baby: What It Is
The system includes a cute little onesie called a Kimono that has embedded, washable sensors to measure the baby’s respiration. There is a dock to snap on the Turtle Module that captures the breathing data along with skin temperature, body position, room temperature, and activity level and sends it along to the Lilypad charging station. From there, it processes the data and sends real-time information to parents via an iOS or Android app. The Lilypad also includes a microphone to bring in the familiar listening feature of old school baby monitors.
Mimo Baby: How It Works
Mimo Baby was in Intel’s booth because it will incorporate their new Edison computer-on-an-SD-card to reduce size and power consumption while still getting the processing power it needs to run its algorithms and transmit data. At this point the units being shipped do not use the Edison chip, as Rest Devices is still a few months from taking that version into production. The Turtle communicates with the Lilypad charging station via Bluetooth Smart, and the Lilypad connects via WiFi to send the data on to mom and dad. With that information, the parents can tell if the baby was fussing or fidgety throughout the night. They can see if there might be a draft in the room. They get a report on the hours logged sleeping through the course of the day. The app allows users to set alerts based on various conditions should something happen that needs quick attention, such as the baby flipping over into a less than ideal sleeping position. I can even imagine that knowing these little details might bring comfort to a traveling parent feeling some separation anxiety.
Mimo Baby: But Is It Safe?
The first thought that came screaming into my head was concern for the health of the little one. The jury may be out on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation, but that gray area might be too risky for some parents. Rest Devices has clearly thought through all the impacts to infant safety. The Bluetooth Smart protocol is a low energy transmission, and the data rate is pretty slow. They claim it generates comparable RF emissions to the standard baby monitor. The Edison chip will be both Bluetooth and WiFi capable, but the representative from Rest assured me that they could disable the WiFi when the Turtle was on the Kimono. The sensors in the Kimono never touch the baby’s skin, and the Turtle is waterproof with no small parts that could become a choking hazard. It seems natural that a company so concerned with the condition of the infant would also pay special attention to how their product would affect its users.
This is a pretty important step in wearable technology, moving beyond the realm of fitness enthusiasts into the broader realm of parenting. No doubt there is more to come.