Helicopter parents rejoice! Nest (now part of Alphabet since its acquisition by Google), the company best known for its smart thermostats, applied to patent a smart crib or toddler bed that would monitor infants and displays soothing images and sounds.
The crib would include a thermal-imaging camera, pressure sensors, speakers, microphones, projectors, and air-quality instruments. The device would purportedly integrate with door sensors, home security systems, fire alarms, and other parts of the home to alert parents to any problems. There might also be an accompanying app and artificial intelligence.
Parents could program the crib in a number of ways. The crib will keep tabs on the environment and alert parents if there is a drastic temperature change or if there is an unusual amount of carbon monoxide in the air. The crib however can also track whether a baby is awake based on its movement, has a dirty diaper, or is coughing or sneezing. The device could even use an algorithm to analyze a baby's different cries.
Nest applied for the patent on December 30th, 2014, but it was just published this past week. The filing names the inventor as Maxime Veron, Nest’s director of product management and hardware marketing. Companies can often request delayed disclosures for sensitive patents.
Image from patent
Nest has only released three new products since Google acquired it in 2014 for $3.4 billion USD. One of these products, a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, were recalled because of software problems. The company bought DropCam, a wireless camera startup in 2014 as well. This acquisition was rather controversial and led to a lot of mudslinging between Nest and DropCam.
If successful, Nest would be entering the $5 billion USD online baby products market. This market grew by 11% last year. This crib would match Nest’s stated mission of producing a “thoughtful home”. Nest has yet to reveal whether the crib will actually come to market.