Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
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Owlet turns to AI for round two of its baby cam

Keeping tabs on the bub is coming together with machine learning, as Owlet’s latest nursery cam works out the sound of crying from everything else.

There are lots of things the machine learning we think of in artificial intelligence can assist us with, from using deep fake technology in animating old photos of family members, organising your Lego for you with instructions on what to build, and even turning your imagination into digital art, the latter of which Microsoft is now tapping into to help you make invitations.

It can also be handy in security cameras, tracking deliveries, people’s faces, and being on the lookout for specific sounds. While that sort of approach is normally reserved for the likes of a broken window, there are other ways it can be used, such as listening out for other sounds, such as talking, or maybe even crying.

That last sound is one of the things Owlet is doing with its second-gen baby camera model, the Cam 2, which is updating the original Owlet Cam and releasing this week to handle 1080p Full HD video, and leveraging sound detection to work out the sounds children make when they’re nearby.

Using machine learning, the Owlet Cam 2 aims to notify parents of crying, but also capture videos before they do so, using a combination of a camera, sound detection, and monitoring of temperature and humidity to bring together an understanding of what’s going on in the baby’s room, and provide ways for parents to keep an eye on the situation thorough their home. That also covers night vision, and a microphone and speaker combination allowing parents to talk to their kids through the camera (and depending on how old the kids are, talking back).

“Parents and their babies need, and deserve, better sleep and that’s what our newest innovations offer them,” said Kurt Workman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Owlet.

“We are working to create a complete nursery ecosystem to give parents the tools, technology and resources to help care for their little ones,” he said.

Owlet’s ecosystem already covers a couple of generations of its Smart Sock, a concept that provides blood oxygen monitoring for parents to track vitals while their children sleep.

While it won’t necessarily be a be-all for every child, and may actually set up more concern than is warranted, it’s a gadget Owlet says will integrate with the Cam 2, connecting oxygen levels and heart rate tracking with the camera.

And it’s one that should work to provide tracking without raising too much unnecessary concern, distinct from the likes of blood pulse oximeters and or even foetal doppler units, which can provide a little bit of health monitoring, but ultimately aren’t a replacement for a specialist. They’re an assist, and thus may end up making nursery monitors like the Cam 2 that much more useful.

“The new and enhanced features of Cam 2 are the perfect addition to our ecosystem of our baby monitor products, including the Smart Sock. Combined with Cam 2’s machine learning, video clips, and cry notifications, parents will be armed with the tools they need to have a full picture of Baby,” said Workman.

Locally, the Owlet Cam 2 is set for a recommended retail price of $249, sold alongside the Smart Sock for the $449, or a combined Owlet Monitor Duo model for $649.

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