Sleep easier with a baby-movement monitor built on Watson IoT

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The Mayo Clinic confirms what parents already know: sleepless nights are a rite of passage for most new parents.

Their baby might go back to sleep on his or her own, but if it’s a young infant who is hungry or needs a diaper change, it’s not likely. By the time weary parents hear their baby crying, the baby is already agitated. Typical baby monitors require parents to listen or watch for updates, not something that can be done while getting a good night’s sleep.

This dilemma is what sparked an idea in a parent who knows the value of bringing his baby a bottle immediately.

The baby movement app

I work with IBM Business Partner Capgemini and had just attended an IBM Cloud Platform workshop. Prior to the workshop, I had never worked with IBM Cloud and became fascinated by how easy it was to develop an app in just two hours that would gather sensor data from a phone, produce websites with graphs to display it, and tweet about it.

I had discussed with my wife how nice it would be to have some kind of alert for when our baby started to wake rather than when he’s already crying. The workshop made clear it was possible.

I created an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor device from a cell phone I wasn’t using, hooked it up to the Watson IoT Platform for IBM Cloud, secured it to my baby’s bed and defined thresholds for movement to be detected by the sensors.

If the device detects movement greater than the threshold (which typically means the baby is awake), a parent gets an alert right away, much sooner than the typical monitor, which is when the baby is already crying, which by then is too late.

Parents can be alerted by an email message sent to a VIP list, call, text, tweet, and it’s even possible to update your Facebook status with the alert.

When a parent gets the alert from the movement sensor, as soon as the baby starts waking up, a mom or dad can tend to the baby’s needs, and he or she will fall back asleep immediately. This way, everyone gets more sleep.

Innovating with ease

It’s easy to put the different components in IBM Cloud together. It’s quick and inexpensive to go from idea to prototype, particularly when the alternative is investing in server and technology infrastructure. Additionally, it’s not necessary to be a hardcore programmer to use it. IBM Cloud is very intuitive.

There are no plans to commercialize the baby-movement monitor. It was only created to solve the real-world problem of helping a family sleep at night. However, because IBM Cloud can help to speed innovation across industries, I envisioned how it could work for his client in the health sector that just opened a new hospital.

The CTO loved the idea of using movement sensors to monitor patients who may not be able to pull their alert cord or press a button for assistance. A movement sensor could indicate to hospital staff that there was a problem that needs attention, for example, the patient is not safely in bed or having a seizure. In this case, a simple app created in IBM Cloud could have a major impact.

Read a related post on LinkedIn, connect your IoT device/phone sensor data here and create your own free IBM Cloud account.

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Great idea, like it. Do you have plans to write a bluemix recipe on this? How did you define the thresholds? How sensitive is the movement sensor in the mobile to detect slight movements? I think this needs some empirical experience.

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