Babies and Bluetooth®

March 12, 2013, 9:05 am

It seems that nearly every day there is a new application for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which is part of the Bluetooth V4.0 specification. One unusual potential application of BLE takes us to the bitter cold winters of Sweden.

In Sweden, it is common practice to leave infants sleeping soundly in their strollers outdoors to take their naps, even in winter months. This cultural norm originated to avoid infants from being in close contact with one another indoors where germs and viruses are more easily spread.

The Ministry of Labour in nearby Finland also publishes a guide for expectant mothers outlining the benefits of placing their infants outside for their daily naps. The guide states, "Irrespective of the season, many children have their evening naps outside in prams. Many babies sleep better outdoors in the fresh air than in the bedroom. Sleeping outdoors is not dangerous for a baby". The guide also stresses the importance of appropriate layers based on the temperature so the baby is bundled very warmly.

It is common to see strollers lined up outside cafes in Sweden and Finland, even in the winter. Babies sleep soundly in the cold while their parents sip a cup of warm coffee indoors, all while keeping an eye on their children. Although cultural norms and practices affect parenting techniques, there is an underlying basic need for parents to protect their young ones from harm.

One thing that a parent cannot monitor from a distance is the temperature that a baby is experiencing when bundled in a stroller that is sitting outside in the cold. By using BLE, however, a temperature sensor in a stroller could send real-time notices to a parent's smartphone or other handheld device. In addition, a proximity sensor could raise an alarm whenever a person or object comes close to the stroller, and another sensor could raise an alarm if the stroller moves.

Other data that could be sent to a smartphone or other handheld device include how many miles you have walked with the stroller and a digital calendar of your baby's sleeping patterns.

With this added functionality, strollers can appeal to parents in the U.S. and other countries.In essence, BLE transforms a simple object like a stroller into a smart technology.