Google’s sister company creates smart nappies

July 21, 2019

Google’s life sciences sister company Verily has created a baby monitoring system based around “smart nappies”, working with Procter & Gamble’s Pampers to use sensors, software and video to surveil when infants sleep, wee and poo.

Parents will be able to raise “quantified babies”, attaching an activity sensor to the child’s nappy, which feeds data on when a nappy is wet and on a baby’s sleep time to an app that charts daily and weekly routines to show its development.

P&G’s Lumi system, set to launch in the US this autumn, also includes a video monitor made by consumer electronics company Logitech, so that parents can watch their baby through the app anywhere in the world.

The companies say individual babies’ data will be for parents’ eyes only, but they will use aggregate data to improve the product and explore new areas where parents could benefit from nudges to better take care of their children.

Privacy activists, however, raised the alarm. “Parents may find this new system convenient, but not recognise the serious risks to their privacy,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director at the Center for Digital Democracy.

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