While adult consumers wait around for the ever-elusive iWatch, kids already seem to have a full array of wearable technology at their fingertips. Each piece of sensor-driven tech aims to bring peace of mind to weary parents.
Infants can now be swaddled in Rest Devices’ Mimo Kimono. The smart onesie keeps track of a baby’s respiratory rate, body temperature and activity level, which is all fed to an app for parents. Despite the $200-plus price tag, devices like the Kimono are the new rage in the fast-growing infant wearables space, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Owlet Baby Care, meanwhile, is touting a $250 smart sock that tracks a baby’s oxygen saturation and heart rate, which is also fed to parents via a smartphone app. According to the Journal, there are already more than $300,000 worth of pre-orders for the smart sock.
But wearable baby monitors aren’t just for parents. Educational-toy manufacturer LeapFrog just unveiled its own wearable-tech device for children, the LeapBand. Set to go on sale in August, it works much like Nike’s FuelBand and Adidas’ miCoach, and can track a child’s play activity and encourage them to keep moving with 50 different games and challenges, CNN reports.
If you think it’s all a little much for kids, think again. Common Sense Media recently found that 38 percent of children under the age of two have used a mobile device for media. That’s up from only 10 percent just two years ago.
Despite the rising popularity, regulators are keeping an eye on children’s apparel with built-in batteries and wireless devices. If the devices were being used for medical reasons, the FDA would need to approve them. “We can’t diagnose conditions, we can’t prevent things,” Dulcie Madden, CEO of Rest Devices, told the Journal. “We are an extra layer of assurance.”
Even so, the devices, which are supposed to lower the stress levels of overtired new parents, are getting some pushback from parents and scholars alike.
“Seven billion people grew up without using these high-tech baby monitors,” Yafit Mullukandov, a 22-year-old expectant mother, told the Journal. “It’s Orwellian to have too much tech shoved into our kids’ lives at earlier and earlier ages,” English teacher Robin Edwards-Harvey told the San Jose Mercury News. “With little kids getting addicted to things like game technology, I see this as part of a really disturbing trend.”
Disturbing or not, the infiltration of tech into our daily lives is starting earlier and earlier. Talk about early adopters.