Even the Jetsons didn’t have baby gear like this.
CES, the largest technology trade show in the U.S., was held last month in Las Vegas, and there was a ton of futuristic baby gear on display. All of it is meant to make the lives of parents easier, but that doesn’t mean some of it isn’t a little … unusual.
Whether these gadgets will ultimately be practical remains to be seen (and some of it might have you longing for the days of the Flintstones instead). Be sure to sign up for our newsletters to stay in the know!
For the Expecting Parents: BabyWatcher
Office ultrasounds are so 2011. The BabyWatcher handheld pregnancy scanner is designed to let parents perform their own ultrasounds—and since we’re in the era of “a pic or it didn’t happen,” it also lets you share images from your smartphone. The BabyWatcher is expected to be available in the middle of this year; you’ll have to pay a subscription fee of around $80 per week, which will include 24 ultrasounds. Its creators say that although it’s not meant to act as a medical device, it is FDA compliant.
The Willow lets you say farewell to the days of being awkwardly tethered to your chair.
For the Moms Who Pump: Willow Wearable Breast Pump
Super multitaskers will rejoice with the Willow, a hands-free breast pump that fits inside of a bra and collects the milk in an attached bag, so you’re not trapped in one chair multiple times a day. In addition to being discreet and convenient, the Willow can also reportedly tell a body’s different phases of production. So, for example, it’s designed to sense let-down and will switch into an expression mode of pumping. There’s also an app that will let you track pumping sessions, milk volume, and past trends. It’s scheduled to be available in the spring at a price that’s “comparable to other electronic breast pumps on the market,” the company tells us. Remember that badass half-marathoner who pumped in the middle of a race? We bet she’s going to love this.
For When They Get Sick: TempTraq
Ever creep into your sick baby’s room to take her temperature while she’s sleeping? Of course she woke up. The TempTraq wearable thermometer patches will monitor a child’s temperature and send the information to your smartphone. (It adheres under a child’s arm.) The patches can worn for 24 or 48 hours, and they will even send alerts to your phone if the temperature reaches a certain level. These are $20-$25 each and are one-time use only, so they make more sense for those especially rough bouts of flu or RSV. (Helpful hint: The company has a $5 coupon on its website.)
For the Parents Who Have Everything: Hatch Baby Rest
We’re putting this one on the list of gear to get the parent who needs nothing. The Rest is a Bluetooth lamp that doubles as a white-noise machine. It emits a soft glow that’s perfect for those middle-of-the-night feedings, and it can double as a night light or even an OK-to-wake clock when your child gets older. Like all good gadgets, the Rest can be controlled from your phone, so you can remotely switch from Thunderstorm to Ocean Waves to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star if one sound isn’t doing the trick that night.
Logging diaper changes and feedings on a piece of paper is for the Flintstones, not the Jetsons.
For the Organized Parents: ProjectNursery Parent + Baby SmartBand
This Fitbit for babies lets parents track feedings, diaper changes, sleep patterns, baby weight, medication, and more by simply tapping on the band. These details are then synched with a smartphone app that saves the data and can create logs and graphs. (It will even track fetal movements should you want to wear the band before giving birth.) The SmartBand also doubles as a fitness band and will track steps, calories burned, distance, etc. The best part? It has an extremely impressive 30-day battery life, so charging the SmartBand won’t be one more thing a sleep-deprived mind needs to remember. It’s slated to be available this month for $149.
For the Desperate Parents: Mimo Nod
Is there anything a desperate parent won’t do to (safely) help a baby sleep? The Nod tracking tool is billed as a personal baby sleep coach—essentially bringing a baby whisperer to your house. Parents enter feeding, diaper changes and sleep activity into a smartphone app, and the app will dole out “personalized” routine advice. The more you enter, say its developers, the more specific the advice. There will be a paid version and a free version, but specific pricing wasn’t available just yet.
For the Parents of Older Kids: Lego Boost
Here’s one for the parents of older kids: There are a lot of robotics and coding kits out there, but very few of them will work with the 6 million little bricks you already have lying around your house. Lego’s new Boost kit combines coding with building and lets kids learn how to program using a smartphone or tablet app. Each kit comes with a Move Hub with a built-in tilt sensor, and it adds in a color and distance sensor, a motor, over 800 Legos, and a cardboard Playmat that teaches kids how to move their robots. In addition to being able to build multiple robotic creations, kids can use Boost with their existing Lego creations —they can even add voice recordings! Boost costs about half as much as a Lego Mindstorms set (the kits used by Lego Leaguers), and it’s targeted toward children as young as 7. When you step on yet another brick in the middle of the night, just tell yourself it’s in the name of science.
Kids will be begging to brush their teeth with the Prophix.
For the Parents of the Fearful Kid: Onvi ProphixToothbrush
Although the Prophix is not specifically designed for children, parents with kids in the Terrified of the Dentist Club may find it useful. This smart toothbrush can show you a live video of the inside of your mouth while you brush, and it can also capture photos that can be shared later. (This latter feature could be especially useful if your 3-year-old falls mouth-first on a the tip of a NERF crossbow and isn't inclined to show the dentist what happened. We're just saying.)
Top photo: BabyWatcher. Photos courtesy of the manufacturers.