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Meet Sproutling, the smart baby monitor that learns your kid's sleeping patterns

Susie Ochs | Aug. 8, 2014
Standard baby monitors are way too traditional, and they don't even give you that much information. All a video monitor or audio monitor can really tell you is if your kid is awake--and even that is kind of a stretch. In reality, it's closer to "Is my kid making noise?" But parents want to know a lot more than that. A new smart baby monitor from Sproutling can not only clue you in about your baby's temperature, heart rate, and sleeping position, but also learn the baby's unique patterns, helping you more easily attune to her own individual needs.

Standard baby monitors are way too traditional, and they don't even give you that much information. All a video monitor or audio monitor can really tell you is if your kid is awake — and even that is kind of a stretch. In reality, it's closer to "Is my kid making noise?" But parents want to know a lot more than that. A new smart baby monitor from Sproutling can not only clue you in about your baby's temperature, heart rate, and sleeping position, but also learn the baby's unique patterns, helping you more easily attune to her own individual needs.

Sproutling is a soft, flexible sensor that you strap around your baby's ankle with a strap. From the very beginning, a lot of thought went into this — constructed of medical-grade materials, it's not a chocking hazard. The soft hypoallergetic band is welded plastic, using no glue, and even the battery inside of the sensor is enclosed in a protective resin-like material, because they know your baby will try to eat the ankle strap, or at least pee on it. I would feel safe strapping this onto a newborn, especially considering what it does.

The sensor uses Bluetooth to send data to a smart charger, which lives in the baby's room and is connected to your home Wi-Fi network. If your phone is within Bluetooth range of the smart charger, it can send notifications directly to the Sproutling smartphone app. Otherwise, the data goes up to the cloud and then back to the app wherever you are. But you don't just get a bunch of raw data. With algorithms and machine learning, Sproutling tells you in plain language how your baby is sleeping — and even predicts when she'll wake up.

Insights, not just raw data

Every new parent's questions boil down to "Is my kid OK? Is this normal?" Sproutling uses machine learning to crunch all the data it gets — 1,000 data points a minute — and create three statistical models: One is based on research, what science knows right now about how babies develop, based on their age. The second model is based on just your baby's own data, since each kid develops at their own pace. The third model looks for clusters of Sproutling babies who show the same sleeping patterns, so the more babies who wear Sproutling, the better it'll be able to predict how long she'll sleep, and even when you should put her down.

The strap has sensors for temperature, position, heart rate, and motion. The smart charger also has sensors for ambient temperature, light, and noise. Together they provide data to the cloud, which provides insights to the app. You can be notified if your baby has flipped from her back to her stomach, for example, or if she's too warm or cool.

 

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