Digital maternity package: Smart soothers and bed sensors for babies
Every Finnish expectant mother can choose to receive a free of charge
maternity package containing baby clothes and other useful items. VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland is currently developing a digital
maternity package with the purpose of gathering reliable health information
provided by various smart devices, electronic services, and guides into a
single user interface. In the future, pregnant women and the parents of
children can monitor their own health and that of their children more easily
and comprehensively than today, using their smartphones, for example. The
concept under development is probably unique in the world.
Digital health and wellbeing applications are part of the everyday life of
many adults, but there is currently only a scant offering of services targeted
at small children and families. One purpose of the digital maternity package
planned by VTT is to reduce concerns related to the wellbeing of mothers and
babies and make the everyday life of families easier, while examining whether
some issues related to pregnancy or the development of the baby could be
monitored at home or handled via digital services, thus making maternity and
child health clinics more efficient.
As part of the project, VTT is developing both new smart products and digital
services, and charting existing applications that would fit the concept of a
digital maternity package. A smart soother and a bed sensor measuring a baby's
sleep pattern, for example, could be part of a digital maternity package in
the future. Sensors can be integrated into the smart soother, providing
information on, for example, the temperature, the baby's movements or suction
power. The data is transferred from the soother and the bed sensor to a
display on a tablet, smartphone or computer, compiling information on, for
example, the mother's diet and the progress of the pregnancy, the child's
growth development and sleep pattern, or perhaps a chat service with a nurse.
The digital maternity package also helps increase awareness of the existing
digital applications and thus get the families to use them.
Ideas for digital services for families with children have been harvested by
interviewing healthcare professionals and parents of small children.
"Families with children have demand for reliable, individual and easily
available health information. The idea is that the digital maternity package
would act as a long-time storage for data related to the pregnancy and
infancy, allowing it to be utilised by public or private healthcare, too,
should you so wish. The best end result is achieved if we can involve a
comprehensive network of healthcare operators," says Olli Kuusisto,
Senior Scientist at VTT.
VTT is currently seeking partners for the development and commercialisation of
the digital maternity package. The product could be on the market in the next
couple of years.
Digital services are transforming society
The digital maternity package is an example of how digital services and the
Internet of Things can become an increasingly visible part of the everyday
life of consumers and society at large.
"Digital services such as the maternity package under development can help
make healthcare more efficient and increase its impact, while improving and
expanding the quality of the services offered to people," Kuusisto remarks.
Photo: Smart soother