What Could Go Wrong? New 'Robotic Smart Crib' Will Stop Your Baby Crying

Authored by Jake Anderson via TheAntiMedia.org,

Would you trust a robot to rock your baby to sleep?

The question likely elicits the chilling vision of a Terminator cradling your child. However, a new product - the Snoo - is, in fact, an automated crib, a high-tech bassinet perfectly calibrated to ‘swaddle’ infants and lull them into slumber. It’s an early entry of automated child care in an age that promises to integrate robotics into the daily fabric of human life.

So, back to the question at hand:

Would you trust a robot to swaddle your child while she sleeps?

The Snoo was developed by renowned pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, MIT-trained engineers, and Yves Behar, who runs a tech-savvy industrial design firm. The team’s goal was to recreate the sensations of being in the womb by swaddling the infant — restricting their limb movement, a practice some have criticized — and inundating them with white noise. This is accomplished with a sleeper outfit that one mother, Samantha Murphy Kelly, referred to as a “straight jacket” that safely secures the child as the bassinet rocks her to sleep.

Samantha, who wrote about the experience of entrusting the Snoo to care for her baby, describes her trepidation disappearing as she watched her child fall asleep within minutes. However, she admits that a creeping anxiety never fully went away.

“As I became comfortable with the product — even relied on it — I found new things to worry about,” she writes. 


“When the city experienced a storm in the middle of the night, I sprinted out of bed to unplug it.”

The Snoo senses when a child is stirring and modulates its speed accordingly. In this way, it is part of a new tech trend of automated devices designed to coddle children. In 2009, a Japanese company released Suima, the first fully automatic baby crib. Earlier this year, Ford, in advertising its new Max line of cars, developed a crib that simulates the ‘soothing’ vibrations of a car ride. One can imagine there will be many more products and services like these as automation in the household becomes more ubiquitous — and profitable.

But will this cottage industry be challenged by the uncanny valley? This is an aesthetics theory supposing that humans feel a kind of revulsion when faced with a human replica. It is most commonly applied to androids, robots, and dolls, humanoid manifestations that come close to approximating our form, expression, or sound — but that remain eerily incongruent.

In entrusting robotic consumer products with caring for our infants, we must overcome a feeling that something is slightly off. Even if a product has a perfect safety record, a queasy doubt will still linger. While robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation make many aspects of our lives vastly more efficient, there remains a sense that the simulacrum is untrustworthy.

Will we overcome this sense in the coming decades? Will we merge seamlessly with our new robotics creations, as Elon Musk believes? Will the 2020s bring us smart cribs and infant monitoring microchips? Or will the feeling of unease cause a Luddite rift? Only time — and money — will tell.


Manthong Richard Chesler Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:44 Permalink

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The robotic crib needs to grab the whining punk by the neck and throttle it.   ..just kidding    this stuff is getting insane.

In reply to by Richard Chesler

greenskeeper carl Bigly Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:19 Permalink

Just when I thought modern Americans couldn't get any lazier, they go and do something like this. Having kids is tough. Yes, you will get woken up in the middle of the night. Sometimes they just cry and cry, for no apparent reason, no matter what you do. Newborns will wiggle around, and you have to get up, all bleary eyed, and reswaddle them, or rock them. The 'best' is when you can't even sit down with them, and have to walk around in circles patting their back for half an hour until they fall asleep. If you aren't up to that, don't have kids. No, I wouldn't trust this thing to gently squeeze or do any of that kind of stuff to the baby. Doing these things is also an important part of bonding with your child.

In reply to by Bigly

Blue Steel 309 NoDebt Thu, 09/14/2017 - 02:34 Permalink

For an explanation on why this is pure evil, I present this:

from http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/harlow.htm

In Harlow's initial experiments, infant monkeys were separated from their mothers [visit this site] at six to twelve hours after birth and were raised instead with substitute or "surrogate" mothers made either of heavy wire mesh or of wood covered with cloth. Both mothers were the same size, but the wire mother had no soft surfaces while the other mother was cuddly ? covered with foam rubber and soft terry cloth. Both mothers were also warmed by an electric light placed inside them.

image In one experiment both types of surrogates were present in the cage, but only one was equipped with a nipple from which the infant could nurse. Some infants received nourishment from the wire mother, and others were fed from the cloth mother. Even when the wire mother was the source of nourishment (and a source of warmth provided by the electric light), the infant monkey spent a greater amount of time clinging to the cloth surrogate. These results led researchers to believe the need for closeness and affection goes deeper than a need for warmth.

These monkeys raised by the dummy mothers engaged in strange behavioral patterns later in their adult life. Some sat clutching themselves, rocking constantly back and forth; a stereotypical behavior pattern for excessive and misdirected aggression. Normal sexual behaviors were replaced my misdirected and atypical patterns: isolate females ignored approaching normal males, while isolate males made inaccurate attempts to copulate with normal females.

As parents, these isolate female monkeys (the "motherless mothers" as Harlow called them) were either negligent or abusive. Negligent mothers did not nurse, comfort, or protect their young, nor did they harm them. The abusive mothers violently bit or otherwise injured their babies, to the point that many of them died. Deprivation of emotional bonds to live mother monkeys (as infant monkeys) these (now adult) monkeys were unable to create a secure attachment with their own offspring. (Principles of General Psychology, 1980, John Wiley and Sons).

Harlow's research suggested the importance of mother/child bonding. Not only does the child look to his/her mother for basic needs such as food, safety, and warmth, but he also needs to feel love, acceptance, and affection from the caregiver. His findings show some long-term psychological physical effects of delinquent or inadequate attentiveness to child needs.

Harlow also did learning research with his monkeys. His theory, "Learning to Learn", described the ability of animals to slowly learn a general rule that could then be applied to rapidly solve new problem sets.

Harlow presented the monkey with two stimuli (a red block and a thimble, for example); one was predetermined "correct" and reinforced with food (red block) and the other was "incorrect" and not reinforced with food (thimble). After each selection, the objects were replaced and the monkey again chose a stimulus. Each trial reinforced the same stimulus (red block). The monkey had a 50% chance of being "correct" on each trial, however, he could increase his chances by adopting the win-stay, lose-shiftstrategy. For example, if the monkey chose the thimble and was not reinforced, he should shift to the red block for the reinforcer. If, however, he correctly selected the red block and was reinforced, he should stay with the reinforced stimulus and choose the same stimulus next time.

The monkey continued throughout a series of six trials with eight pairs of stimuli (learning sets). Harlow found the monkeys to be averaging approximately 75% correct responses by the sixth trial of the eighth set. He then began to look at the animal's behavior during the second trial. He found the monkeys to implement the stay or shift strategy on the second trial of the six-trial set, which means the animals did not relearn the strategy with each new stimuli set, they instead applied the rule they had already learned. After 250-plus trials, the monkeys were about 98% correct on the second through the sixth trials with each new stimuli set.

Harlow's learning research demonstrates that animals, like humans, are able to learn to apply strategies or rules to situations to help them solve problems.

In reply to by NoDebt

East Indian Blue Steel 309 Thu, 09/14/2017 - 05:15 Permalink

I read about the experiment, and saw the videos too (some in the Youtube). The tragedy of our times is, Greenpeace, PETA or someone else will be so much disturbed by this cruelty to the baby monkeys, they will approach a court to stop the experiments or hold demonstrations before the labBut they will allow these robotic cribs to be sold to human parents. They may even buy these cribs themselves, to look after their babies while they are away for a rally or protest to stop the cruelty inflicted on the animals.

In reply to by Blue Steel 309

TuPhat Wed, 09/13/2017 - 22:48 Permalink

These cribs are exactly what is needed to prepare a generation to accept driverless cars.  Especially those built by the hypocrite Musk.

wisehiney Wed, 09/13/2017 - 22:50 Permalink

Next, they could coordinate the "snoo" with mom's injections.i.e. Rock for a longer period of time if mom has just taken a heavy dose.Ain't tech wonderful?

Jessica6 oddjob Thu, 09/14/2017 - 11:00 Permalink

There are plenty of wealthy women who'll do anything to avoid raising their own kids.

Look at all the professional, high-income women demanding daycare for their children from infancy.

I say this as someone who still considers herself somewhat feminist:

>high-flying career

Only do one at a time.

In reply to by oddjob

Stranger_in_a_… Deplorable Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:13 Permalink

That is a damn good question.I remember our first, a girl, that was a real night howler.  Every night, she would start crying and I'd have to wake, and pace the halls, rocking with her in my arms...many, many, sleepless nights for me until she got out of the habit and slept through the night.Did my tired days at work the next day suck?  Sure.  But now she's about to turn 16, is super chill, and I get to regale her with all the stories about how she tried to torture me every night, but I 'won' the war, LOL  Where would these types of fun stories go with this contraption?

In reply to by Deplorable

spdrdr Stranger_in_a_… Thu, 09/14/2017 - 02:34 Permalink

You, Sir, are a dinosaur, and need to present yourself at the nearest re-education facility immediately.You are a lucky bastard - my first daughter, also a "howler", I couldn't "pace the halls", Oh No, I had to put her in the baby capsule and DRIVE her around, at 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., whatever.  Once, I can remember driving past a local police random breath testing unit three times, and being stopped each time.To be fair though, I was pulled over only twice in one location, and then again at their new location.  You would have thought that they might have recognised my car...Be that as it may, my early efforts have Done Good, and my eldest daughter now loves cars, driving, manual gearboxes, quarter-mile times, and routine maintenance tasks.I may eventually remind her of how she was... 

In reply to by Stranger_in_a_…

warsev Wed, 09/13/2017 - 22:53 Permalink

My very first memories of life on this planet as a baby are of being in a sleepie suit with legs that were too short. All I wanted to do was kick, and it wouldn't let me. The Snoo gives me some really vestigal creeps. Good God, don't put my kids in one of those! Ever!

HRH Feant2 (not verified) warsev Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:01 Permalink

I don't remember that but I have always been a kicker and a flipper. Anytime they tried to put another kid near me I kicked them out of the bed. And I still flip.

I agree, that could give a kid phobias for life!

I know where that Doctor got the idea. From seeing cows in a chute that are put in a squeeze. The theory is that the cows calmed down because they were squeezed. Oh bull shit! I castrated steers many years ago and they stop moving because they are being squeezed! Once you let up the squeeze chute they run out of that thing as fast as they can!

In reply to by warsev

cheeseheader Wed, 09/13/2017 - 22:54 Permalink

I want to know where all these so-called ai scientists dwell...so's regular muricans who don't need all this tech shite can find them and distrubute justice. Where does Maye's kid live again???  You know, so's we can go and film his house/yard/address/etc. like his brethren at abc and post it to anyone interested in stuff like that. We regular folks can't afford these ai clowns anymore with our taxes.

HRH Feant2 (not verified) Wed, 09/13/2017 - 22:56 Permalink

Jeezus that is fucking creepy as hell! You wrap your kid up in a straight jacket? The kid can't roll over or move around? Fuck that would ruin some people for life!

Here little baby, here is your dose of soma, here is your neurolink, here is a screen 12 inches from your face.

Those legs suck. I wouldn't trust them. And is that thing grounded? So it only lasts six months and then you have to give it a way and put your kid in a bigger bed?

Honey! We need another baby bed! A bigger baby bed this time!

HRH Feant2 (not verified) Bigly Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:13 Permalink

I have seen that theory being peddled. People are stupid. If the baby cries and won't stop, let it cry! That is how babies learn how to self soothe. They don't have to be picked up every five seconds. Just let it holler.

As for vaccines? It is insane how many kids get. The one vaccine kids don't give anymore is smallpox. Supposedly it was eliminated. Except for those freezers where it is stored. Sure, your kid has had every vaccine. Except the one that is likely to be used as a bioweapon.

Supposedly the CDC still has enough vaccine stored. How old is that shit? 40 years old? It isn't like they have a fresh batch. But you know it has to be true because the government said it is. Oh, sure, let me get my kid jacked up on some 40-year old smallpox vaccine the week that smallpox shows up as an outbreak!

Oh, be careful when getting a tetanus shot these days. You have to ask for the tetanus shot only. Otherwise you get a tetanus shot mixed with one or two other vaccines. 2-in-1 or 3-in-1. I wish I was joking.

In reply to by Bigly

shimmy Wed, 09/13/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

Humanity has become pretty sad when it has reached a point where some people find it too inconvenient to take care of their baby and do what nature intended. Talk about devolving. I watched that video and I do have to say that baby's facial expressions are damn cute, especially when it was being wrapped up in its straight jacket. It was probably thinking "what the fuck is this bitch doing to me?"