3D printing in techy, wearable baby monitor
With just a glance at their smart phones, parents can now rest easier having detailed data on their baby's position and vital signs at their fingertips. Last weekend, Rest Devices started shipping its Mimo connected baby onsies to stores across the U.S. This high-tech article of baby clothing uses a sensor called a Lilypad sewn into each onesie to collect detailed baby data which is sent via a green plastic turtle to parents' smartphones. The company cites 3D printed rapid prototypes as helping them stay ahead of competitors.
Which is nice, because these onesies are pretty rad. In addition to being adorable, Mimo's tracker-turtle is tricked out with a version of Intel's Edison chip. Together the Lilypad and tracker-turtle monitors babies' movements, respiration, position, and skin temperature. This data is sent via blue-tooth to parents' smartphones using a handy app that includes a function allowing parents to listen in with the turtle in real time. Parents can sleep better and keep their babies' safer with this information as things like baby-stealth-stomach-roll moves (stomach sleeping is associated Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can be detected without a midnight slog to the baby's room.
In addition to being functional, this high-tech, kimono-style baby ensemble looks pretty cool. It's at once snuggly and cutting-edge – thanks to what looks like a turtle headed down a leafy green slip-and-slide. This arboreal turtle slide is actually a soft, cloth-like stripe that runs across the onesie to help collect baby data. The Mimo onesies are made from soft organic cotton, and the Lilypad sensors are sewn in around the hip. The entire unit is a feat of techy cool and infant cute.
Mimo's sensor-laden baby onesies come in kits including three onesies and the tiny turtle-tracker monitor for the price of $200 – the onesies are available in sizes 0-3, 3-6, and 6-12 months. The Mimo onesies were a popular item at this year's CES – being mentioned as a favorite item by Tech Hive and TechCrunch among others.
The company Rest Devices, which makes the Mimo onesies, creates rapid prototypes for their adorable monitoring systems with a Makerbot Replicator 2. This 3D printer uses fused deposition modeling technology and PLA bioplastic filaments to produce 3D printed objects at a 100-micron resolution.
The co-founders of Rest Devices, Thomas Lipoma and Dulcie Madden, lead a group of seven employees – most of them from MIT – in developing Mimo products. They use a suite of 3D software from Autodesk to design 3D models which can be sent to their Replicator 2 3D printer. 3D printing technology is an important part of their design process according to Lipoma: "If we have a first concept, we're going to immediately CAD it... Within half and hour we can have something up. We can print it. We can feel it."
Rest Devices says that three competitors have joined the market since they began designing their baby monitoring clothing. 3D printing helps them save time in design and production and stay ahead of competitors designing high-tech baby gear.