Wearable technology is everywhere these days. From smart watches to smart fabrics to sensors that collect data about our every move.
Now there’s wearable tech made just for babies. The Owlet Vitals Monitor is a wearable baby monitor – built into a smart sock – that monitors a sleeping child’s heart rate, temperature and breathing.
The Owlet, which was reported about when it won last year’s Student Innovator of the Year prize at Brigham Young University, started as a concept for wirelessly sending a baby’s vital info to nervous parents via a smartphone app.
Fast forward a year and the Owlet monitor has just launched a crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise $100,000. Founder Jordan Monroe says they were surprised at the “amazing and validating” response to the project.
“At that point our product was nothing more than a 6in x 6in breadboard that sent pulse and oxygen wirelessly and a horrible video we made for a class. Put simply we had an idea and a video.”
Co-Founder Jacob Colvin has two kids of his own and knows full well the anxiety parents of infants endure. “Every parent knows what it’s like to lay in bed and stress about whether your child is breathing,” he says.
So they set off in search of an angel investor to bring their product to market. Their biggest worry – whether they could fit all the necessary tech into the size of a sock. Add to that the challenge of accommodating a baby’s foot, which triples in size in the first year of life.
Why did they choose crowdfunding? Monroe tells us “We love crowdfunding because it builds a community around your idea; we chose to do it because it is an affordable, less risky way to prove that there is demand before going to retailers or investors.” Both of which, he says, they’ll be doing soon.
The monitor itself gives parents real-time info on their baby’s vitals; heart rate, oxygen levels, skin temp in case it’s too hot in the nursery, as well as the baby’s sleep position. And of course, the socks will come in pink as well as blue.
Sleep position is said to play a role in instances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) though no one really understands the cause. Researchers have found a correlation between babies sleeping on their stomach and instances of SIDS. The Owlet will alert parents when their child starts to roll over, so they can intervene if necessary.
Monroe tells us the app was submitted a month ago and is currently going through Apple’s approval process, and it will also be available for Android devices.