Mimo: Dress Your Child for Monitoring
Motherhood plus Big Brotherhood
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From Rest Devices comes another way to tech-up your child. The Mimo, showcased at CES as an example of the capabilities of Intel's new Edison chip, is a new kind of baby monitor.
The Mimo is comprised of four elements: a Kimono (bodysuit) with built-in sensors, the Turtle (no, not a real one), its recharging Lilypad Base Station, and a mobile app. These elements work together to bring data from your baby to you in real-time via bluetooth and wifi. Mimo was prototyped a year and a half ago, and has been field tested with dozens of babies since.
Mimo will ship with three short-sleeve Kimonos in either a 0-3 month, 3-6 month, or 6-12 month size. You can also order an extra 2-pack of replacement Kimonos as needed. The bodysuits are made of organic cotton and are very soft to the touch. They're also machine washable, which is almost the most important feature! The onsies can be worn over or under other layers; the sensors will still work effectively.
There are two stripes that run down the front of each bodysuit. These are respiratory sensors that monitor chest movements. The Turtle attaches to the bodysuit at the end of the stripes via magnets, and is home to a temperature chip, accelerometer, and Bluetooth Smart technology (safe for babies). The Turtle also has a built-in microphone that can stream audio to your connected mobile device in real-time. Dulcie Madden, CEO of Rest Devices, hopes to expand into other designs (in addition to the Turtle) soon. The bodysuit has side snaps, making it easy to get on and off. This design helps decrease daily wear and tear on the respiratory sensors.
We were particularly impressed with the way the turtle stayed connected to the onsie, despite being pushed and prodded in different directions. Magnets, in conjunction with the Turtle's shape, allow a parent to remove the Turtle with a little bit of force and fine muscle skill—it's much more difficult for an infant or older sibling to accidentally (or purposely!) disconnect it. In the event that the turtle does accidentally get popped off, it is designed to be baby-safe (chewable, water resistant) so there's no need to worry. The Turtle's battery lasts roughly 5 nights before needing a charge, and it takes just an hour on the Lilypad to get back up to 100%.
We were concerned that the Turtle would be uncomfortable for baby to wear at night, but the connection point is highly flexible, and the Turtle itself is less obtrusive than we thought.
Mimo works on iOS and Android mobile devices. The Mimo app shows the data being collected in real-time. It also alerts parents if anything changes. The app currently shows 24 hours of past data, and Rest is planning a new page that will show data over longer periods of time to highlight trends.
Some have expressed concern that the proliferation of baby data-gathering technology, like the Mimo system, will—instead of helping ease parents' minds—make them further obsessed with managing and improving their babies' habits. Certainly in this day of information overload, extra data has the ability to harm rather than help. Mimo is just one of many new technology products for tracking babies' health and development, and it certainly won't be the last. Parents will need to decide for themselves how much tech they want to incorporate into their parenting.
That being said, we believe the Mimo is a well-thought-out product that will give some parents the information they need to relax and sleep better at night knowing baby is breathing and comfortable. As of this writing, the Mimo is available for pre-order for $199, which includes 3 Kimonos, 1 Turtle, and 1 Lilypad.