Quantified baby startup tries to soothe parents’ worries with a ‘smart onesie’ coming in 2014

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The quantified self movement has made its way into the nursery.

A company called Rest Devices is developing a high-tech onesie that lets parents monitor a baby’s breathing, temperature and movements from their smartphone.

Called Mimo, the cotton onesie is embedded with machine-washable sensors and comes with a base station, the “lillypad,” that’s placed in the baby’s room to pick up audio as a traditional baby monitor would.

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The device uses a home WiFi connection to stream the audio and sensor data to a parent’s phone. The accompanying app tracks data over time and can be programmed to send alerts if a baby’s breathing has stopped, for example, or if his temperature gets too high.

A new SEC filing reveals that the Boston-area company has just wrapped up a $1.2 million round of financing. According to the WSJ Venture Capital Dispatch, the funding was led by The Experiment Fund and joined by angel investors to support a January launch of the $199 device with a “prominent retailer.”

A group of former MIT students founded Rest Devices as Nyx Devices back in 2011 with the idea of making a sensor-embedded sleep shirt for adults. They seemed to have switched gears, though, joining a class of other digital health startups like Sensible Baby, Sproutling and Owlet Baby Care in developing digital health devices to enable “smart” parenting.

Co-founder Dulcie Madden responded to concerns that these kinds of devices may feed parental anxiety or try to replace the human touch with data on a post on the company’s blog. “A smart device is not – and will never – be a replacement for good parenting. However, it can be one more tool that helps parents along the way,” she wrote. “Just like a comfortable crib, good advice, books and blogs, or a sturdy stroller, Mimo can help parents along their journey in rearing their child, not replace them.”

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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