Family Tech: How it has Evolved and How it is the New Market in 2019

Whether you are a new parent with your first born child or an experienced parent with multiple children, there will always be a level of anxiety present as you watch them transition from their infancy to their adolescence. Parental anxiety is natural and is often characterized by unrealistic worry about things like meeting developmental milestones, having exposure to chemicals, having fitful sleeping or eating patterns, or develop anxiety about vaccine options. With this said, if a parent’s anxiety levels become too extreme this can cause paralysis in both the parent and child as the parent may limit the child’s opportunities too much and the child may become fearful of their own curiosity. This problem of parental anxiety is so widespread across the globe, that a new technological market – family tech – is trying to answer the trend in 2019 as more companies are creating gadgets that address things like vital signs, sleeping patterns, and even fetal heartbeat while the child is still in the womb.

Being a father of 6 years & new migrant in Canada I have been observing that parenting is not that easy task to do. My current profile on IoT Consulting & all other made me do a bit more research on this FamilyTech Front.

The Evolution of Children’s Toys – From Inanimate to Animated

Before the integration of modern technology into the present day toy market, parents would purchase inert dolls, teddy bears, toy cars, action figures, and books as a way to support the development of their child. These would give children an avenue to play out their inner feelings and worries instead of internalizing them.  This projection of emotion would allow a child to work through, learn, and develop their emotional foundation without the byproduct of a nurturing attachment to an inanimate object. However, the toy market has evolved since then, with toys now having artificial personalities that can get in the way of a child dealing with their emotional development. Why? These toys talk to them, educate them, and replace the imaginary friend that they would grow up with.

One such toy is the Woobo, showcased at the CES Gadget Show, which takes on the role of a child’s imaginary friend and helps by playing educational games, creating healthy routines like morning and nighttime tooth brushing, and answer complex questions. This type of toy ranks under the sociable toy category and focuses on trying to enhance family time rather than replace parents or babysitters. According to the Woobo developers, the toy doesn’t entice the child to stay glued to the screen as it requires the child to interact with their home environment by making a game out of household chores like cooking and cleaning. What it does do, is stop the parent from having to nag at their child for routine actions. There is one thing that a parent, who is looking at buying the Woobo, needs to keep in mind, a robot should not replace the talking, connection, safety, and mentoring that a child gets out of real human connection.

The Next Generation of Baby Monitoring Through AI Intelligence

One of the patterns you see in parents with infants is the constant worry and stress associated with how well their child is sleeping, whether their child is safe during sleep, and how they can monitor their child safely without waking them up. This is where the next generation of baby monitors comes in handy; powered by artificial intelligence, these devices are meant to ease a parent’s worry by giving a constant stream of updates about their child’s heart rate and breathing. Unlike past baby monitor innovations, the ones unveiled at the CES Gadget Show, rely either on radar technology or computer vision. The Raybaby’s device is a one-eyed robot that uses non-ionizing radiation to detect breathing patterns, while the Nanit camera, watches your baby from above and measures sleeping patterns by monitoring movement. The data collected by the Nanit camera will provide you with recommendations on consistent sleep time and patterns.

Other than these, the CES Gadget Show also brought forth two electronic devices called Smartbeat and Miku, with both attempting to predict when a baby is about to become sick. The Smartbeat and Miku come with a phone alert system that reports irregularities in breathing and all analysis is done via image-based data collection (Smartbeat) or radar (Miku).

Bringing Electrocardiograms Home With Owlet – Womb Tech

Although a lot of electronic devices shown at the CES Gadget Show are aimed at infants and toddlers, the Owlet is a bit different in that it addresses parental anxiety while the baby is still in the womb. It is a pregnancy band that tracks fetal heartbeats through an electrocardiogram, which utilizes electrode patches to measure the electrical activity of your baby’s heartbeat. It is meant to be used three to four months prior to the due date while the mother sleeps at night. Every morning it sends a “wellness” report to the smartphone application with details about the mother’s sleeping positions, contractions, and the baby’s fetal heartbeat. The gimmick of the band, it makes you feel like a superhero as the band has a superhero owl-faced emblem on the front.

Every year the CES Gadget Show brings forth a wide range of new tech devices, but this year it has shown us that technology has become so innovative in the field of family tech, that even new spheres of data collection like artificial intelligence are already being utilized. Although there may be some negative trade-offs associated with this new type of tech, it is clear that internet-connected family tech devices are embedded in the market of parental anxiety.

No Homesickness with Grandpa Story Telling Products.

Recently I came across a Story Telling Toy which is connected to Internet & allows grandparents to record stories on their voice through mobile application. Parent & other family member can also have their account & record story. Toy will then play story to grandkid wherever kid is. Story can be scheduled for bed time, When new story is recorded Toy speaks that you have new story & who told the story. Once again I can totally relate to this technology for being a new migrant & father of 6 year old daughter.

Ketan Raval
Working for Let's Nurture Canada,Founder Moncton Cares Rotarian, Planning And Advisory Council Member For City of Moncton, Board of Director for New Brunswick Business Immigrant Association. Global Shaper from World Economic Forum, BNI Member. Investor, Business partners, have successfully failed, have failed fast. Supporter of all good, Friends of many, Son of few, Father of two ,Husband of One. Spending free time in writing, reading, watching sports. Love to spend time with good people instead of smart people