New smart baby monitor looks to “give parents their time back”

Design consultancy Tangerine has created a three-part monitoring device, which alerts parents through vibrations and flashing lights on a wearable wristband if there are any concerns about their baby’s behaviour.

Tangerine has designed a baby monitoring system that looks to stop parents from needing to “dash over to their baby every few minutes” by enabling them to check on their child’s wellbeing remotely.

The Bluebell smart monitoring system is made up of three products, including a parent wearable device in the form of a wristband, a baby monitor, which can be attached to a baby’s clothes or sleepsuit, and a smart hub.

The three devices connect via thread technology, a form of Bluetooth typically used for smart home products, which covers a range of 70 metres, according to Tangerine CEO, Martin Darbyshire.

Monitor temperature, breathing and movement

Alongside the three physical products, there is a corresponding smartphone app, which parents can use to view a data history.

The system works by the baby monitor tracking the baby’s behaviour, including skin temperature, breathing and movement. It also has a microphone, so listens to noises the baby makes, such as crying.

It then alerts the parents through their wristband if there is a problem, in the form of vibrations, icons coming up on a display or flashing coloured lights. Different alerts correspond to different issues or behaviours.

Play white noise

Parents can also press a button on their wristband, causing the baby monitor to play white noise and lullabies or turn on a night light. Pressing another button results in them being able to input and record data – for example, the time of their baby’s last feed or change.

The baby monitor can also be programmed to record data automatically, such as the baby’s sleeping patterns.

Enabling parents to trigger sounds or light that aim to sooth their child allows them to “remotely control these elements without going into the baby’s bedroom and disturbing the baby”, says Darbyshire, which hopes to give parents more freedom and autonomy in addition.

“Keeping parents in check in a subtle way”

He adds that the ability to record the baby’s behaviour can be useful for parents and medical professionals. “You have a complete record of what you’re doing and what your baby’s been doing,” Darbyshire says. “You can feed that data back to doctors and midwives.”

The system can be used fully through the parent’s wristband, with the smartphone app an addition to help users view data patterns if they wish. The wristband is “similar to wearable sports tech, like a Fitbit”, says Darbyshire, with a “small” display that aims to avoid being “exceptionally techy”, so that the kit is accessible to everyone, he adds.

All data that is captured is uploaded to the cloud and encrypted, he says, making it “very difficult to hack into the system”. Individuals’ identity data is not captured, only behaviour such as sleeping patterns, temperature, breathing rate and sound.

The system does not currently have filming capabilities. “The focus of the brand is on passive monitoring, not highly active engaged monitoring,” says Darbyshire. “It’s trying to help keep parents in check with their baby’s status in a more subtle way, rather than providing loud, listening-in or constant checking of video.

“Give parents their time back”

“The idea is to help give parents their time back,” he adds. “Becoming a parent is a challenging step in people’s lives and they often need support.

“I wouldn’t describe it as a loss of contact, as you’re still in the same room or the same house. It’s helping people keep in tune with their baby while not having to dash in every few minutes to see what’s going on. It’s about disrupting people’s lives as little as possible — the healthier someone is as a parent, the more likely they’ll [be a successful parent].”

Tangerine has designed the physical products, the corresponding app, as well as the packaging, branding and communications for the Bluebell system, which aim to help it appear “sophisticated and technical but easy to set up, so as not to put anyone off,” says Darbyshire.

The branding centres around a blue and white core colour palette used alongside other pastel shades, a sans-serif typeface and a set of flat graphic icons.

Tangerine is a share-holder in the Bluebell company, so has not received a paid fee for the project. The Bluebell smart monitoring system is launching at John Lewis and will be available to buy in-store from May onwards.

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Comments
  • Carl St. James March 15, 2019 at 11:28 am

    How did we raise children without them over the last 100,000 years?

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