The Sound of Expectation
Here’s some consumer technology that helps parents-to-be know what to expect when they’re expecting. BabyWatch is a device and social platform that helps track pregnancy, organize prenatal care, and make it an interactive experience for expectant parents everywhere.
The palm-sized system consists of a portable ultrasound scanner that sends the foetus’ heartbeat echo to an app on a connected Android or iPhone smartphone. The phone then processes it into an audible signal to allow the user to listen to the heartbeat. The app also visualizes the heartbeat and provides data around it. Users can use the app as an organizer too, calculating important dates in their pregnancy and tracking the prenatal care schedule. A nifty feature is the kick counter, which allows tracking of the unborn baby’s activity level – kind of like a Fitbit for fetuses. The BabyWatch device uses a cable to connect to the phone rather than Bluetooth or any other radio, with the phone required to be in airplane mode during scanning.
There is also a yet-to-be-launched social platform called GlobalBeat that takes this experience one step further by allowing users to share their learning and experiences with other expectant parents. According to BabyWatch website, this platform is likely to launch in December 2013.
The creators, Urška Sršen and Sandro Mur, state that BabyWatch is safe for babies and has received all needed medical certificates from the FDA and CE for worldwide usage. It uses a Doppler probe that has much lower mechanical and thermal indexes (Working Frequency: 2.0 MHz 10%, P-: < 0.5 MPa, Iob: < 10 mW/cm2, Ispta: < 50 mW/cm2, Isata: < 5 mW/cm2) than ultrasound probes for 2D, 3D and 4D sonography, which are generally used in hospitals. Still, it may be a good idea for users to check with their doctors before using this. It is also important that users learn how to operate the device correctly to avoid false negatives and positives.