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Tech by VICE

It's 'Sproutling!' Wearable Tech For Babies Has Come to Full Term

Consumer Electronics Man takes on the Fitbit for babies.

by Consumer Electronics Man
Aug 7 2014, 6:29pm

Sproutling, used with permission

Parenthood 2.0 has finally Sprouted. Designed by "alums of Apple and Google," Sproutling, a new app—and, even better, wearable band and wireless charging dock—disrupts how disruptive babies can be. 

At the dawn of time, humans had to stay within earshot of their young—that is, until the audio-only baby monitor opened up the whole of downstairs to them. That is the might of technology. Or was. Now, in what may signal the peak of bio-technical evolution thus far, child care can be carried out while you get closer with your beloved, the iPhone.

In the spirit of full disclosure, given the pace of the web, I've spent more time with start-ups that feel like families than I have creating my own genetically-derived familial start-up. 

It's easier to find a Steve to build computers in a garage with out here than it is to find an Eve to build a life with, as I am fond of tweeting. Let it never be said that the low numbers of women in the Valley only hurt women. Now, some of those women have told me that saying things like that aloud and in public forum keeps me single, and that is why this early adopter once looked into adoption. 

But let me tell you, I did, and adoption is one process that needs disruption. In a big way. Who has time to spend six months wandering around in Katmandu? They don't even have a Tesla dealership there. I understand there are some artificial womb options coming down the pipeline, so if the search for Consumer Electronics Woman still fails to attract any initial public offerings, there are options.

At first, Sproutling makes a compelling case against procreation. "Being a new parent is like trying to make it to 10 different appointments in a new city without using a GPS. It's a life full of uncertainty and no clear turn-by-turn directions, which leaves parents (and newborns) trying to slowly learn and guess along the way, night after sleepless night," the promo says. 

That sounds like my life circa 1995, pre-dotcom boom, and the widely-available Zima and Dockers aside, and I am not going back. For that is the past, and there is no sense looking to it, when the future burns so bright. In fact, I would go back and delete that last sentence if it didn't mean I would have to linger upon this thought for even a second longer.

But then there's the appeal of having someone to teach programming to, as well as the brand opportunities that arise with having a family, so there's only one true option: Sproutling.

Simply band your baby like an ornithologist bands a woodthrush, and watch the data flow to daddy. While parent 1.0s could only blindly guess as to whether their child was, say, awake by using their senses, with Sproutling, you're getting 16 different measurements every second. You'll know if your baby's heart rate is deviating from the norm, if the sound or temperature of baby's room is deviating from the norm, and even projections such as when your baby will wake up, and what mood you can expect the baby to be in once awake.

Who says that your child should have some bodily functions that are withheld from you? You made that body, dammit, you created it; you hacked it, and just because nature says the umbilical cord needs to go, doesn't mean that nature's in charge. Because, let's be real. Mother Nature is a terrible mother. One that takes things like deviations in temperature as a given, and thinks the only thing infants need to hear in the womb is a pulse. Technology is simply better than nature; this is 2014, and everyone knows that.

Well, I'm already working on a startup that pipes TED Talks, daily NASDAQ quotes, and Steve Jobs product presentations directly into an infant's neurotransmitters—classical music is fine, but this is 2014. Babies should be born knowing how to code.

Sproutling launches its pre-order campaign today for its first batch of monitors that will ship in early 2015. Getting on the ground floor—the second-best floor to get in on, besides the basement—saves you a cool $50 off the Baby Monitor's $299 retail price, teaching your child the values of thriftiness and wearable tech in one fell swoop.

I'm told those early years fly by, so you'll want to take lots of screenshots. Post them to Facebook. In fact, share them on all social media network profiles—yours, and your child's, of course, whom you have no doubt registered for Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, at the very least, upon birth, if you consider yourself a Sprout-worthy parent. Eighteen years from now, with the little hacklet off to Stanford, bound to you only by his or her Nike+ that informs you everywhere he or she goes, you can be confident that you have parented as effectively as the technology of the era allowed.