Last week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a series of seven smart home related patent applications filed by Google mainly covering home security and home intrusion detection. The one that stood out from the pack was for a smart baby crib as noted in the patent figure shown in our cover graphic and further below in our report.
Google notes in their patent overview that "Baby cribs are routinely purchased on the basis of safety and aesthetic features. Typically a mattress for the crib is separately purchased for similar reasons. Many users separately select a baby monitor that includes a camera and/or microphone. More sophisticated monitors may have an infrared camera and/or a speaker. The monitor may include a camera that can be placed in a position that overlooks the baby crib. In some configurations, the camera and/or microphone may be affixed to the crib using child proof and safe mechanism. The baby monitor may contain a controller (e.g., head unit) to which the signal from the camera and/or speakers is transmitted. The head unit may contain indicators for the volume of sound detected by the microphone. The head unit may contain various buttons that activate or deactivate the display and/or speakers on the head unit. Thus, a baby monitor may be retrofitted to a baby crib."
Google's patent filing further notes that "The sensors may communicate with one another and/or with other devices, such as a smart home network or associated devices, to generate a notice based upon the combined data from the different sensors."
Google also notes that one of the cameras associated with the crib may be an infrared camera to provide nighttime or dark vision (e.g., passive infrared or "PIR").
Other notables are new kinds of sensor to monitor the air in the baby's room that are extra sensitive to not only monitor for carbon monoxide but also if the baby has vomited, has a dirty diaper, has heart palpitations, unusual lack of movement and even detecting that the child has a fever.
Google further notes that "A response may be generated based on the condition detected by the sensors. The response may be emitted through an entertainment device. For example, if the child is crying, the projector may activate and display some cartoon animals on the ceiling. The projection may be accompanied by music played at a volume that is determined based on the ambient level of sound detected in the room by the microphone and/or the time of day. The response that is generated to the occupant condition may be configured by the end user.
For example, the user may be presented with the option of having the crib not respond to a child's cry when the crying is detected for at least 30 seconds and, instead, notify the user's client device in those situations. The user may elect to have music played if the child is crying for at least a 20-second interval. By preconfiguring responses to be performed by the crib, the responses can occur without further user interaction. That is, the client device belonging to a parent of the child may not need to be disturbed with a notice.
Google's patent also covers having sensors and a compass attached to doors in a home for general home intrusion detection that sets off an alarm but could also be used in context with a child's room to notify parents if their toddler has climbed out of the crib and is existing their room. Especially if the child's bedroom is near a staircase, the parents would want to be notified their child has opened their bedroom door so as to avoid an incident.
Google filed their patent application for this invention back in December 2014. As a general note, Google will be delivering the new Google Home device as noted below later this year which may play a role with the smart crib in the future.
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