Checking and rechecking to make sure your baby is still breathing is a time-honored anxious habit of new parents – it’s completely normal, but nobody likes being anxious (and Mom, you need some sleep!).
The Mimo Baby Monitor is a high-tech shortcut that lets you do all of that checking and rechecking through your iPhone, iPad, or Android. We asked Thomas Lipoma, one of the co-creators of Mimo, to tell us all about it.
A: Mimo is a smart wearable baby monitor: your baby wears the Mimo kimono, and as she sleeps, live audio and information about her breathing, sleep activity, body position, skin temp, and nursery temp are sent to the Mimo app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android.
Q: Let’s go through the components of the system: tell me a bit about the Mimo kimono onesie.
TL: The Mimo kimono is really the heart of the monitor, and includes the respiration sensors, which are the green strips on the top of the kimono. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to build the Mimo so that it would fit easily and comfortably, and feel completely natural to use. So the Mimo kimono is made of organic cotton, it’s machine washable, and you can toss it into the dryer on low heat.
It was also really important to make sure sensors never touched your baby’s skin. The respiration sensors are made of normal T-shirt vinyl, and they sit on the top layer of the kimono, so the only thing your baby feels is soft cotton. You can even layer the kimono over other onesies or jammies, and it works completely fine. The sensors themselves work by detecting tiny changes in the stretch of the fabric, so any time your baby breathes, even if she’s on her tummy, you can see it immediately in the Mimo app on your phone.
MB: How about the Lilypad and the Turtle: they collect baby’s vital signs, right? Tell me a bit about how you developed these pieces and how they work.
TL: If the kimono is the heart, then the Lilypad and the Turtle are the brains of Mimo. The Turtle attaches to the kimono with three magnets, so it’s easy for you to put on and take off, but really hard for your baby to play with. The Turtle actually contains a temperature sensor to measure your baby’s skin temp, an accelerometer to measure the position and movement of your baby, as well as a low power Bluetooth transmitter to send all that information to the Lilypad. The Lilypad then sends all that data online to your phone, so you never have to worry about going too far. The Lilypad also serves as a charging base for the Turtle, and contains a microphone so that you can listen in from anywhere in the world.
MB: And then there’s the Mimo app, which lets parents view and analyze data. Tell me what data this item records, and how parents can use it.
TL: The Mimo app is really cool. It shows you your baby’s breathing patterns, sleep activity, body position, skin and room temp, a timeline of your baby’s events from the last twelve hours, and lets you to listen in to your baby. You can also set alerts of your baby’s activity, so if you’d like to be notified if your baby rolls over, or wakes up, or has an irregular breathing event, you can set all that from the app.
But the really cool thing is that you can see what happens over time. Right now this is really basic, you can only see what happened and how your baby was sleeping over the last 12 hours. But over the summer, we’re working on some new tools that will track sleep over a longer period of time, and display interactive graphs for some new tracking and data tools to show how feedings affect your baby and their sleep patterns.
So, lots of good stuff in the pipeline for the coming months!
MB: From the bios on the website, it looks like the Mimo team has some pretty impressive tech credentials! Tell me a bit about how you all met and developed Mimo. What was the inspiration for this product?
TL: We all met while studying at MIT, and decided that we wanted to work on something that would utilize our engineering skills, while being super impactful to people and super fun to build.
The whole concept of Mimo started when a doctor from Massachusetts General Hospital approached us to create a tool that would more easily allow him to monitor his patients’ sleep activity from the comfort of their own bed. So we created the Somnus Sleep Shirt, which was truthfully the first generation of the Mimo, and provided the patients with a comfortable solution that was machine washable and didn’t disrupt their sleep. As we worked through this project, we kept hearing from parents that they’d love a similar solution to use in the nursery, as current baby monitors just didn’t give them the insight they wanted into their baby’s sleep activity.
MB: What’s your role on the team?
TL: I’m one of the cofounders (along with Carson Darling and Dulcie Madden) and in charge of early stage R&D and manufacturing. We still have a really small team, so we all kind of do a bit of everything. The Mimo product is locally sourced, and everything is made in New England, so I get to do what I love: build new devices that make Mimo parents’ lives better, all while working with local manufacturers. And in the meantime, I get to work really closely with new parents to ensure the product they use is constantly improving.
MB: It looks like, from the info on your webpage, assorted folks involved in developing Mimo alpha tested this product with their own families. Tell me a bit about that process.
TL: We really just put a Facebook post up asking if parents would be interested in working with us to test out first versions of Mimo. The response was overwhelming, we were completely blown away. So we spent those initial months literally driving to parents’ homes, setting up Mimos, and talking them through what we were doing, what to expect, and what they wanted to see. It was a pretty stressful time but insanely fun, as we got to work with several families directly, all of whom had a very real impact on the direction of Mimo.
MB: Tell me a bit about the families you’re envisioning using Mimo.
TL: Truthfully, we have families of all shapes and sizes using the Mimo, which initially surprised me. Many of our users are first time parents who are looking for some added peace of mind as their little ones are learning how to sleep through the night and roll over.
But we also have parents who just really love the fact that they can be at work and check in on their baby; or who are second and third time parents looking for a better monitoring option that works with the devices in their lives; or who like to explore the latest innovations in nursery and baby care. And although we’re not selling internationally, we have Mimo users in over 20 countries, so parents all over the world are catching wind of Mimo and putting it to use with their babies!
MB: I’m sure you’ve got some happy customer testimonials already – tell me about some of them!
TL: So we actually do all support in-house. If you call our support line with an issue, odds are pretty good that I’ll be the one picking up the phone!
I do remember one day about two months ago, a new dad called in after buying a Mimo because his newborn was about to come home from the hospital after having breathing issues. He was having trouble getting his Mimo to connect to his internet, and he was really stressed out. We quickly solved the problem and got everything set up, and I could instantly hear him relax. It was so amazing that I could help him with something that can be so scary.
We also have several parents of multiples who are power Mimo users. One dad in particular has twin boys, but purchased the Mimo about halfway through his wife’s pregnancy. He knew he wanted a monitor that gave insight into his babies’ breathing patterns and how they slept, as he wanted the extra peace of mind once they were born. Now that his little ones are two months old, he’s constantly writing in to us with harrowing stories of double diaper changes in the dark and 3am feedings. But the ones we love the most are where he gets an alert from his Mimo of a baby waking up but too silently to hear from the next room, or when one of his babies is close to the side of the bassinet but finally asleep, and Dad pops open his Mimo app and sees that his son is safe and sound, breathing strong, on his back.
Sounds cool, doesn’t it? We’ll be taking orders for Mimo Smart Baby Monitors starting this week, with orders fulfilled starting in early August – but we’re giving away one FREE tomorrow as part of our month-long 31 Days of Giveaways celebration! Go to mbeans.com/31days to enter. Good luck!