Back in 2013, there was a contest sponsored by Absolut Vodka to come up with an idea for a product that was not only technologically and commercially viable, but would change the world in a positive way. It was called the “Absolut Transform Today Challenge”. The following is the entry that I wrote for the contest. Spoiler alert – I didn’t win. However, I’d still like to put it out there into the universe. Reading this now, in 2015, I realize that much of the technological infrastructure for this device already exists – it’s called FitBit. Granted, this has a bit more functionality, but it’s not that far a stretch.
The Baby Bond Bracelet
By Eric Dean, 2013
An Entry for the Absolut Transform Today Challenge
I was inspired to make the Baby Bond Bracelet after hearing of yet another tragic infant death last year due to a parent absent-mindedly leaving a child in a car on a hot day. I’m 29, and have no children myself, but many of my friends are no raising children of their own, from infants to five years of age. I’ve spent a lot of time around these new parents, and witnessed the amount of undivided attention that a baby requires.
I noticed a few pieces of technology that essentially haven’t changed since I, myself, was a baby, including baby monitors and thermometers – pieces of technology intended to bridge the gap between the parents and child. I decided to try and design a single piece of relatively inexpensive technology that would bridge that gap, bonding the parent and child through technology, and allowing a parent to more closely monitor their child, for safety. This comes in the form of a wirelessly connected bracelet on the parent and a soft, flexible anklet on the child. These bracelets will be Bluetooth and wifi capable, and the child’s anklet will include GPS monitoring, skin temperature monitoring, a speakers and microphone, and a heart-rate monitor. The bracelet and anklet will be coded to one another, and will have a complimentary app by which the parent can record, monitor, log, and program their functionality. For example:
1. Distance Alarm and Tracking – The parent can program a specific physical distance into the bracelets. If the baby wanders further than this distance, a sound and/or vibration alarm will go off on the parent’s bracelet, and a location alarm will go off on the child’s anklet. This will essentially prevent the child from being left in a car, from wandering off in public, and even from being abducted. The wifi and GPS functionality and accompanying phone app will allow the parent to find the child if lost, or track the child’s movements if it is with a caretaker. If the child is reported lost, its anklet could alert nearby police via Bluetooth, wifi, gps, and radio signals.
2. Health Monitor– The anklet can monitor the child’s skin temperature and heart rate and notify the parent if a drastic change is detected or if one or the other drops or rises too far, indicating distress. The anklet will record these changes and the app can display them in various graph and visual forms which can be printed and shown to the child’s healthcare provider.
3. Baby Monitor – If the child cries, the microphone activates and alerts the parent. The parent can listen to see if the child calms, and decide if intervention is necessary. Any other voices or sounds in the room could also activate the microphone and alert the parent, allowing the parent to know if other people are in the room with the child. The parent might then choose to activate their own microphone and deliver a message to that person, such as “He’s probably hungry, dear. There’s a bottle in the fridge.” The parent could even hum a lullaby to the child until they are able to get to the child.