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科技潮流:让小宝宝穿上“智能袜子”

更新时间:2019/3/10 10:29:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The 'smart' baby technology raising today's children
科技潮流:让小宝宝穿上“智能袜子”

When new mum Lindsay Elliott faced the challenge of separation anxiety from her daughter Hazel, she found an unlikely saviour: a sock. To help calm any worry about Hazel’s health, the 29-year-old teacher bought a $300 ‘smart sock’ which uses pulse oximetry – inspired by hospitals and adapted from gadgets such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit – to monitor oxygen levels, heart rate and temperature.

要和女儿黑兹尔(Hazel)分开让新手妈妈林赛·艾略特(Lindsay Elliott)感到焦虑,她搬来的救兵出人意料:一只袜子。29岁的艾略特是名教师,为了不再为女儿的健康提心吊胆,她购置了一只300美元的“智能袜子”,内建脉搏血氧仪,可以监测身体的含氧量、心率和体温。这款产品是受医院设备启发,并在苹果公司的智能手表和Fitbit健身手环这类产品的基础上调整开发的。

“I always had a fear that she would just stop breathing. It was my personal anxiety, so that oxygen level helped so much,” says Elliott, who lives in Winter Park in the US state of Florida. With this piece of baby technology, Elliott could sleep easier and go out to dinner with more trust in a babysitter if Hazel were wearing the gadget. She could simply track her daughter’s vitals from her phone.

艾略特住在美国佛罗里达州的温特帕克市,她说:“我总是害怕她会突然停止呼吸。我会有这个担心,因此含氧量很有帮助。”有了这项育婴科技,宝宝穿上它,妈妈就可以睡得更踏实,外出吃晚餐也对保姆更放心,妈妈只要用手机就可以追踪女儿的重要生理指标。

Elliott is one of a growing number of millennials introducing smart baby technology into their lives as parents. Millennials are, after all, the generation most accustomed to feedback and data on every aspect of daily routine. Consumers use apps and wearables to track their fitness, sleep cycles, diets and work habits. For many, tracking their children’s health is a natural next step.

越来越多千禧世代的家长在育儿生活中使用智能育婴科技,艾略特就是一位,毕竟他们最能适应接收来自日常生活各个方面的反馈和数据。消费者使用应用程序和智能穿戴来追踪自己的健康、睡眠、饮食和工作习惯。对很多人而言,追踪孩子的健康是自然而然的事。

In the past few years, a number of manufacturers have recognised the potential to equip babies with wearables and other smart products. There is a market: according to Australian social research firm McCrindle, each week more than 2.5 million members of so-called ‘Generation Alpha’ are born globally. The group, whose oldest members were born in 2010 (the same year that the iPad and Instagram launched), will encompass nearly two billion people by the time the generation officially ends in 2025.

过去几年,一些厂商意识到,婴儿用的智能穿戴和其他产品很有潜力。市场确实有:澳大利亚社会研究机构麦克林登公司(McCrindle)表示,全球每周有超过250万的“阿尔法一代”(Generation Alpha)出生。这代人中年龄最大的生于2010年(苹果iPad平板和Instagram推出的年份),等到2025年阿尔法时代结束时,这一代将有近20亿人口。

With these new products, modern parents now have access to an entire connected nursery with data feedback from bottles, dummies, cots, prams, clothing and more. Some of these products are meant to ease stress for new parents, while others simply automate parts of the parenting process entirely – shifting many tasks that were once intuition-based to fully automated.

如今,借助这些新产品,当代父母可以通过奶瓶、奶嘴、婴儿床、婴儿车以及衣服等各种各样的数据反馈,将所有育儿环节相互连通。有些产品可以减轻新手爸妈的压力,有些则彻底将育儿环节自动化,许多事情之前是靠直觉,现在都是全自动的。

For example, an ‘intelligent baby feeding monitor’ attaches to the bottom of a standard bottle and provides data feedback to a smartphone via Bluetooth. Several aspects of mealtime that are usually intuited – how much a baby drinks, the temperature of the milk and even the angle of the bottle – are tracked via the accompanying app.

例如,把“智能喂奶监护”装在普通奶瓶底部,就可以通过蓝牙将数据反馈到智能手机上。孩子喝了多少奶、奶的温度以至于瓶身角度,许多在喂奶时全凭直觉的事情,现在都有配套的程序来追踪。

Elliott acknowledges smart baby gadgets aren’t necessities, but says her generation is excited to adopt these new technologies to make parenting easier. “I talk to some older parents who didn’t have this technology. They say, ‘Oh, well, back in my day, we just checked that they were breathing.’ And I say, ‘Well, things are evolving.’”

艾略特承认,智能母婴用品并非必需,但她这一代人热衷于这些新技术,带孩子能轻松些。“我和一些比我大的家长交流,他们当时没有这些技术。他们说‘那个时候只是看看孩子是不是还有呼吸。’我会说时代在更迭。”

Birth of a new market

新市场的诞生

In 2016, the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow held annually in the US, launched a dedicated offshoot: the BabyTech Summit.

美国消费电子展是世界上规模最大的消费技术贸易展,每年在美国举办,2016年推出了专项展览:育婴科技峰会(BabyTech Summit)。

Summit producer Jill Gilbert explains that the event was initially popular among start-ups creating single-solution, standalone products for babies. The first wave of products included a car seat with sensors to ensure a child was secure and a changing pad which could track a baby’s growth with each nappy change.

峰会的组织者吉尔伯特(Jill Gilbert)告诉我们,电子展起初在育婴行业的创业公司中很受欢迎。这些公司生产单一解决方案的独立产品,最初的产品包括带有传感器的儿童汽车座椅,可以确保孩子的安全,还有可以追踪孩子成长的智能换尿布台子。

Over the years, these baby products have evolved to become more complex, integrating more sensors, diversifying data inputs and providing comprehensive digital platforms. Now larger, more globally recognised brands are entering the flourishing market. Motorola sells a suite of nursery products, while Philips designed an app platform which combines data from a baby monitor, trends recorded by parents and online video consultations with doctors.

多年来,这类育婴产品不断发展,变得越来越复杂,传感器越用越多,数据采集的种类增加了,并提供全方位的电子平台。如今,更大、更有全球知名度的品牌正在进军这个蓬勃发展的市场。摩托罗拉有一屋子的的育婴产品,飞利浦则开发了一个程序平台,综合了婴儿监护仪的数据、家长的追踪记录还有和医生的网上视频咨询。

Although the baby tech sector specifically is relatively young and unstudied, researchers from market research firm Hexa say the baby-monitoring submarket alone is projected to grow from $929m in 2016 to $1.63bn by 2025. With China leading the way, Hexa predicts the Asia Pacific region will also gain a substantial global marketshare in that time.

尽管育婴科技这个行业相对年轻,尚未研究,但市场研究机构赫查公司(Hexa)的研究人员估计,到2025年,仅婴儿监护产品这一个二级市场就将从2016年的9.29亿美元增长至16.3亿美元。赫查公司预计中国将是最大的市场,而整个亚太地区届时也将在全球占据大量市场份额。

As more millennial parents in the US, Germany, France and China decide to leave home to work, forecasters expect them to rely on digital baby monitors to stay connected to their newborns. The next to connect could be parents in emerging markets including India, Brazil, South Africa and Thailand.

在美国、德国、法国和中国,越来越多千禧世代的家长决定重返工作岗位,预计会用育婴电子监护产品来查看孩子的情况。接下来可能会轮到印度、巴西、南非和泰国等新兴市场的家长。

Data knows best

数据最懂行

Constantly stressing over a child’s wellbeing is not the best way to develop parenting abilities, says Dohyeong Park. “If you want to make your baby happy, you should be happy first. It will maximise the quality of care.”

莫尼特(Monit)是韩国一家开发智能尿布监测仪的公司,首席执行官帕克说:“一直担心孩子的健康放心不下并非培养育儿能力的最佳方式。家长希望孩子开心,首先要自己开心,这才能有更高质量的关爱。”

As CEO of smart nappy monitor company Monit in South Korea, he is building technology that he believes can address exactly this. Monit alerts parents to bowel movements, helping them change babies faster with the intention to prevent nappy rash and urinary tract infections. Dohyeong hopes that the data from Monit will free parents to leave their baby in another room, or spare them the worry of misinterpreting cries.

帕克相信,他所研发的技术刚好可以解决这个问题。莫尼特的产品会在婴儿排便后通知家长,让家长能及时为孩子换尿布,避免尿布皮疹和尿道感染。他希望莫尼特提供的数据可以解放奶爸奶妈,不用一直跟孩子呆在同一个房间里,或者不再误会孩子为什么哭闹。

Rather than rely on intuition to care for infants, those in the baby tech industry would rather millennial parents use data. In a connected nursery, a newborn’s unwillingness to sleep through the night turns from an unavoidable drain on a parent’s sleep to a trackable habit to be corrected by data insights. A new parent’s separation anxiety turns from a weakness she must battle internally to a mere inconvenience to be tempered by smartphone updates. Stress over a baby’s health turns from a distraction to a fleeting thought.

育婴科技的从业人员希望千禧世代的家长使用数据,而不是靠直觉来护理新生儿。以前,孩子晚上不睡觉家长也没得休息,而数据互联后就可以追踪孩子的入睡习惯,并通过数据分析加以纠正。过去,新手妈妈必须自己克服和孩子分开的焦虑,而今无非是有点不便,刷新一下智能手机就可以缓解。对孩子健康问题的担忧曾使人心烦意乱,现在担心转瞬即逝。

 “Millennials just expect that [technology] will be part of life,” says BabyTech Summit’s Gilbert. “[Older generations] expect TVs in our house. They expect smart monitors, connected platforms.”

育婴科技峰会的组织者吉尔伯特说:“千禧一代认为科技将融入生活。(老一辈们)认为家里应该有电视,千禧一代认为该有智能监护产品和网络平台。”

‘A false sense of control’

“错误的掌控感”

The medical, emotional and psychological effects of baby technology have yet to be studied thoroughly – and there is not a consensus among childcare experts about its impact or necessity.

育婴科技在医疗、情感和心理方面的作用还有待于全面研究,育儿专家对其影响和必要性也意见不一。

Rebecca Parlakian, senior director of programs at not-for-profit child development research group Zero to Three, is concerned that monitoring devices can “disconnect parents from understanding the particular needs of their babies”. Innately, babies learn how to manage their emotions through a process of “co-regulation,” she says, taking cues from their parents as they are held and comforted; in the instance of a mechanised cot, for example, parents could miss whether infants “prefer rocking, white noise or some other form of soothing”.

帕尔拉吉安(Rebecca Parlakian)是非盈利儿童发展研究机构“零到三岁”(Zero to Three)的项目高管,她担心监护产品会“使家长不再去理解自己孩子的特殊需求”。她说,婴儿天生会通过一种“共同调节”来学习控制情感,被大人抱在怀里安抚时,他们会从中效仿。但如果是在机械化的婴儿床中,家长可能就不知道宝宝是“喜欢被摇,还是其他安抚方式。"

Parlakian also says the questionable impact of these health monitors can extend to parents. “If you have an anxious parent already, having that constant data might create more anxiety for them and more worry.”

帕尔拉吉安还说,这些健康仪器的影响值得推敲,而且也会影响家长。”如果父母已经很焦虑了,源源不断的数据可能让他们更焦躁,更担心。“

Kurt Workman, CEO of Owlet, the company that manufactures Hazel Elliott’s $300 smart sock, disagrees. He points to a study the company completed in collaboration with the journal Global Pediatric Health, in which 96% of nearly 50,000 Owlet users reported a reduction in stress after using the smart sock.

黑兹尔那只300美元的智能袜子由奥力特公司(Owlet)生产,公司首席执行官沃克曼(Kurt Workman)对此并不认同。他提到公司和《全球儿科卫生》期刊(Global Pediatric Health)合作完成的一项研究,在近50,000名奥力特智能袜子的用户中,有96%表示压力没那么大了。

But stress may actually be an integral part of becoming a competent, healthy parent, says Jenny Radesky, assistant professor of developmental behavioral paediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. She worries that health monitoring tools “may give parents a false sense of control, when actually a major step of becoming a parent is being able to tolerate the distress and feelings of lack of control that come with caring for another, tiny human.”

美国密西根大学医学系发育及行为儿科学的副教授拉得斯基(Jenny Radesky)认为,压力本身也是成为一名健康能干的家长所不可或缺的一部分。她担心健康监测产品”可能会给家长一种错误的掌控感,而承受照顾另一个小生命时的压力和无力感也是为人父母的重要一步。“

Growing up

市场在发展

All of this technology is, as consumers might expect, expensive. And despite their position as the most technologically savvy generation, millennials also find themselves as the most financially disadvantaged from their predecessors, too.

消费者可能已经想到了,所有这些技术都很昂贵。虽然千禧世代是最懂科技的一代人,但与前辈们相比财务压力也最大。

For instance, the Snoo, a popular smart cot that automatically rocks upset infants back to sleep, costs $1,160. Michelle Dowdy, a 29-year-old photographer and mother of three in Nashville, Tennessee in the US, owns the Snoo. “If [my baby] won’t sleep then it’s worth the investment,” she says. For Dowdy, the Snoo is no different than an “expensive sleep coach”. (Maternity nurses typically charge about $200 per night in both the UK and US – which means the Snoo would ‘pay for itself’ in less than a week.)

例如,史诺(Snoo)是一款流行的智能婴儿床,婴儿一哭就会自动摇晃,哄婴儿入睡,售价为1160美元。29岁的摄影师米歇尔·道迪(Michelle Dowdy)住在美国田纳西州的纳什维尔,是三个孩子的母亲,她就有一张史诺婴儿床。她说:”如果(我的小孩)不肯睡,那么这笔钱就值得花。“对她而言,史诺婴儿床就是一位”高价的睡眠教练“。(在英美两国,产妇陪护一般每晚200美元,史诺婴儿床用不了一周就成了”免费看护“。)

For those with hundreds to spend on a sleep coach, spending more than $1,000 on a cot might not seem a stretch. But as many parents around the world struggle with providing basic necessities, baby technology is not only out of reach, it is a luxury. “Having a child can be quite expensive already, even just for the basics like a crib, food, diapers, etc,” says Todd Kunsman, founder of personal finance advice website Invested Wallet. “While these smart products may be ‘nice-to-haves,’ they are not necessary items.”

对那些出手几百美元聘请睡眠教练的人而言,花费千余美元购买婴儿床可能分别不大。但世界上还有很多家长连购买基本的必需品都捉襟见肘,育婴科技不仅很遥远,而且是奢侈品。个人理财咨询网站“投资钱包”(Invested Wallet)的创始人昆斯曼(Todd Kunsman)说:“养孩子已经很贵了,只是婴儿床、食品、尿布等等最基本的东西开销就很大。这些智能产品有了当然好,但不是必需品。”

Elisabeth Gugl, an associate professor of economics at the University of Victoria who researches family economics, worries that, until this new industry can gather evidence to back up its economic and medical claims, parents won’t be able to separate fact from fiction, and companies can target anxious parents with false information to make a sale.

加拿大维多利亚大学的经济学副教授古格尔(Elisabeth Gugl)从事家庭经济学的研究,她担心在这个新兴行业能证明自身的经济效益和医疗效果之前,家长们无从判断事实真假,厂商为了赚钱,会用错误的信息向焦虑的家长兜售产品。

Still, many who use these monitors are strong proponents. “I have recommended Owlet to every single person I’ve met since getting pregnant,” Elliott says. (Dowdy says the same of her Snoo cot.) Elliott is even saving her Owlet sock for her next child.

不过,许多监护器的用户都是坚定的支持者。艾略特说:“我从怀孕开始就跟身边的每一个人都推荐奥力特袜子。”(道迪也向人推荐史诺婴儿床。)艾略特甚至还把袜子留下来准备给下一个孩子用。

A generation of data-driven parenting is, in other words, coming. As Dohyeong puts it, “It’s not a matter of choice. It’s a matter of time.”

换言之,数据育儿的时代正在到来。用帕克的话说,“早晚都会用。”

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