December 25, 2015
The author and his test baby (Photo: JR Raphael).
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my first 10 months of being a parent, it’s that you need every advantage you can get.
Like most new dads, I learned this the hard way. I think that’s the only way possible — because when it comes down to it, there’s no real instruction manual for these blubbery little bundles we welcome into our lives. (I wish there were, because I’ve spent hours searching and still can’t find the “mute” switch for my 2015 model.) And all the books and blogs in the world couldn’t possibly prepare you for the perpetually damp, noisy, and sleep-deprived reality you’ve signed up for.
But hey, it’s 20-frickin’-15. We have virtual assistants that (sometimes) respond to our every demand and $10,000 hoverboards that (kinda-sorta) let you levitate. For Doc’s sake, there’s gotta be some sort of “smart” doohickey that makes raising a baby easier, right?
As a tech-obsessed dad, I made it my mission to find out. I searched wide and far for the most promising-sounding “smart” baby gadgets around, then went to work testing them on my stunning 10-month-old subject (while my wife bemusingly rolled her eyes and heckled me from the corner of the room).
So how’d it all turn out? Snap on your favorite onesie, and let’s find out.
Baby Gadget #1: Monbaby Smart Button
The short take: A $169 plastic button that goes on your little one’s jammies at night and sends ongoing data to your Android or iOS device. Kind of like a Fitbit for babies, with the added benefit of real-time alerts for things like rollovers, falls, and unauthorized disco dancing (come on — my daughter can’t be the only one…).
The baby test: Getting the Monbaby onto mon bébé was surprisingly easy — and while the wife and I were initially a little worried about our giggly, wiggly girl plucking the thing off her clothing and plopping it into her mouth, the button proved to be extremely secure and no cause for concern. Equally important, our progeny seemed blissfully unaware of the gadget’s presence on her person (even though it made her look like a miniature version of Iron Man, complete with — no joke — the option for a glowing red light in her core).
So off to sleep she went, and off to our living room lair we galloped to covertly observe her activity. Seeing our tyke’s stats on our tablet’s screen was surprisingly satisfying: The Monbaby app showed us whether she was on her back or stomach at any given moment and gave us a sliding-percentage-meter view of her ever-changing activity level (see “unauthorized disco dancing,” above).