Self-driven cars use computer vision, but what about your baby monitor? Today, a company called Nanit launched with the promise of using computer vision and machine learning algorithms to watch, study, and learn from your sleeping baby. This concept is in contrast to products that make parents put sensors on their child — like Owlet, which uses baby booties, or MonBaby, which uses a button that attaches to baby clothing.
The Nanit camera captures video footage of your child from a tall, white stand that hides its power cord and leans against the wall. Its fall-resistant design is made to thwart grabby babies, and it has a built-in nightlight on its ceiling-facing top side. (If the stand doesn’t work for your nursery, you can also use Nanit on a tabletop.) But Nanit’s most differentiating features work on the backend as its algorithms analyze everything the camera sees.
The Nanit app shares insights based on your baby’s moves, like when sleep actually begins and when parents come into the room, as well as a crib heatmap of where your restless kid moves throughout the night. It congratulates parents on milestones, like the first time a baby puts herself back to sleep without a parent’s intervention. Each morning, the Nanit app shows a highlight reel of the previous night, along with a sleep score. And it gives behavioral analysis and parenting tips based on what the camera observes.
"It’s not simple to make parenting tips universal because there are a lot of parenting approaches out there," says Dr. Assaf Glazer, Nanit’s CEO and co-founder. "Just giving them awareness is 50 percent of the way." He spent the last 15 years studying computer vision, earning his PhD at Technion in Israel and his post-doctorate at Cornell Tech in the field of machine learning and computer vision. About five years ago when Glazer had his first child, he was curious about his son’s sleeping and behavioral patterns but found existing video monitors frustratingly bad. So he did what a lot of tech CEOs do: he made his own with help from co-founders who had worked at Philips and Applied Materials.
Like other computer vision and machine learning devices, Nanit gets smarter and more personalized over time, and Glazer has high hopes for what this camera and its analytical smarts could do in the future. "Our goal is to expand the boundaries of human observation, and we start with babies," he says.
Nanit will cost $349 when it ships in September, but it’s available for preorder starting today for $279. Along with the camera, you’ll need to pay for a subscription to Nanit’s analytical software. People who preorder get the first month free (each additional month costs $10) and can save 50 percent when they buy a full year of the service all at once.