Owlet Vitals, The Future Of Baby Monitoring

Is your child still breathing? Owlet Vitals hopes to service the incredibly anxious modern parent market with their baby monitoring device, which puts updates right on your iPhone.


(Owlet Vitals Monitor)

"SIDS is the number one cause of infant death. That’s really scary to parents," Jordan Monroe, a cofounder of Owlet, told Fast Company. Monroe has no kids, but while talking to friends and friends of friends with babies, he found that to be a common worry.

Those fears don't come from a place of reality, though. According to the Center for Disease Control, 4,000 infants die each year from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. Only a fraction of those deaths occur because of "accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed," according to the CDC report. And even SIDS--which causes about 2,000 deaths a year--might stem from underlying brain issues, according to recent research. Monitoring a child's breathing with a high-tech bootie won't cure SIDS.

For science fiction fans, all of this elaborate baby monitoring harkens back to the electric diaper from David H. Keller's fine 1928 story The Psychophonic Nurse, which does a pretty good job of predicting this device:

"...suppose the baby gets wet between times? Suppose it starts to cry?"

"I've thought of that, too. In every diaper there is a fine copper wire. When that becomes wet a delicate current is sent - you understand I mean an electrical current, not a watery one - to an amplifier and a certain sound is made, and the nurse will properly react to that sound..."

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