In the modern world, every individual is professionally engaged to make both the ends meet and when it comes to working families, both the parents are working and need to manage their personal and professional lives in a balanced and productive way specially for their children mainly infants. They do not get ample time to take care of their infants and it becomes difficult to monitor the babies and even hiring a professional nanny raises financial and reliability concerns.
The number of newly born infants in the year 2019 was around 712,680 and the number of working parents. Also, the proportion of working households continues to rise over the years across the UK. A survey shows that out of the 20.9 million households in the UK, there were 12.2 million (58.5%) classed as working. Such a scenario reflects the difficulties of work and personal life balance and related stress being faced by working class families specially the ones with infants.
It is in this scenario that smart home solutions have emerged as a source of ease and comfort for the households specially working parents. There are innumerable household solutions being developed every year so that individuals may relax at home and remain highly productive on their professional engagements. As for the children, the tech-enabled smart solutions are supporting parents for efficient and memorable upbringing of their children while managing all other professional, personal and household tasks accordingly.
With the birth of an infant, a majority of the parents’ time is occupied in managing the baby’s nap time, checking on the baby every now and then, and monitoring the baby’s hygiene issues.
It causes a lot of sleepless nights, stress, physical exertion, and fuss for the parents to adjust to the evolving situation. The most commonly used baby carrier at home is a baby cradle that is supposed to be the most comfortable place for an infant other than the parents’ lap.
Generally, the baby cradle is used to make the baby sleep and soothe them. For example, guardians have to take extra care of their child during the infancy stage. However, conventional cradles are not generally electronically equipped to meet the requirements of busy and working parents/guardians.
Also, the problem with conventional cradle is that you need manpower to take care of child at all times including odd and long hours like late nights. It raises the need of an automatic cradle to take care of child, which uses the battery or power source. The smart baby cradle helps working women balance their work and domestic chores. It creates a positive impact on society as women can continue their studies or job without worrying about their children and can take part in national development.
Moreover, it is also hard for the homemakers (majorly mothers) to sit nearby their babies and sooth them whenever they feel uncomfortable. Hence, the use of Internet of Things (IoT) helps in dealing with this problem.
Although, there is academic research available on the subject but there are limited similar products available in the market with limited features and leaves a lot of improvement and modification scope. For example, a group of researchers in India designed a smart cradle system for child monitoring using IoT and another group of students designed and fabricated the automatic baby cradle system. Manisha et. al. presents a framework for self-regulating baby cradle which consists of a microphone that detects the cry of the baby. To convert it into electric signal, the electrical device operational amplifier is used for amplifying signal conditioning circuit. A microcontroller is utilized to receive the amplified signal and to transform to digital signal. The microcontroller monitors the driver circuit that begins a motor and swings the baby crib. This system reduces the work of working parents as well as in hospitals where there are large number of babies. The real downside is that the sound locators are not utilized and in this manner sound recognition is beyond the realm of imagination. Presence of camera and toy lacks in the proposed system which in turn makes video communication difficult.
The above mentioned researches were conducted in the developing countries and had their own limitations for its commercialization that may relate to the product cost and/or its affordability by the respective masses.