This is my daughter, Penny. She’s a toddler now, which blows my mind, as it feels like we brought her home from the hospital yesterday. But I don’t think I will ever forget the first year of her life and the toll it took on my wife and I as first-time parents. The sleepless nights, the extreme stress, the not knowing what is wrong or why she’s crying. That helpless feeling is something that I think goes through all parents’ minds.
This is the foundation of Aura. What if there was a better heart rate monitor that told us more than the physical health of the child? What if there was a way for baby to communicate with us? Well I think there is.
Aura is an idea that a heartbeat can tell you a lot more about someone than just their health. It is, in fact, possible to define human feelings and moods based on the rhythms of the heart. We can distinguish between happy, sad, excited, angry, and so much more, just by listening a little closer.
By observing and recording the heart rythms of young babies, we can begin to understand what they need. Every baby is, of course, unique and individual. Aura is constantly asking the parent if the mood that it’s reading is correct. Over time, Aura becomes more accurate and learns the baby’s behaviors, along with the parent. This is hugely valuable to first-time parents, looking for any help they can get.
This is the goal of Aura: to help an infant communicate with their parent.
It all starts with this simple band that monitors heartrate and communicates with the Aura app. The soft fabric doesn’t irritate the child’s skin, and is light enough that it isn’t noticable when attached to the ankle.
With the AuraBand attached and turned on, the parent can launch the Aura app on their phone and connect via bluetooth. The Apple Watch version of the app also automatically connects. Let’s take a look at how baby Julian is doing:
Within the app, Aura displays Julian’s current mood (Aura). Here we can see that, based on heart rate patterns, Aura thinks that Julian is getting a little fidgety because he’s hungry. The user also gets a scannable, interactive timeline for the day that shows Julian’s ups and downs for the duration of the cycle. The different colors represent different moods that Julian has experienced that day. Below this, the user is presented with a calendar to go checkout how Julian has done on specific days.
Turns out Julian is just a little fussy and needs some attention. Once the parent corrects the mood in the app, Aura stores that data and will have a better idea of what Julian needs next time that heart rhythm occurs.
In the timeline, Mom can look at specific points in the day, and even make notes on behaviors. Looks like Julian got pretty excited when Dad came home!
While some might say, “Being tired, confused and scared is just a part of being a new parent. You figure it out.”, we like to think that any amount of communication you can foster with a new child is a good thing, even if it is non-verbal. Aura isn’t going to make you get more sleep, but it might just make you feel a little bit more confident that you actually can do this parenting thing.