Innovation That Matters

For premature babies, haptic mattress helps them feel their mother's heartbeat

Sport & Fitness

Babybe is a system that translates mothers' heartbeats into haptic feedback for premature babies isolated inside ICU.

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Around 15 million premature babies are born every year, and many of those need to spend at least the first weeks of their lives in isolation before they can go home with their parents. However, during this time they lose the vital physical and emotional connection with their mother, who is often limited to one hour of holding time a day. Platforms such as BabyTime, which uses Apple’s FaceTime system to visually connect mothers with their newborns, have previously tried to tackle this disconnection. Now, Babybe is a system that translates mothers’ heartbeats into haptic feedback for the baby inside the ICU.

According to the team behind the innovation, a mother’s touch and movement is vital for making babies’ post-natal experience less stressful, and can even stimulate growth and brain development. Designed for those with premature babies, Babybe consists of 3 parts. The first part is called the turtle — a sensor-filled cushion that can track the mother’s heartbeat, chest movements and breathing when they hold it to their chest. The device connects to a bionic mattress, which is placed inside the ICU and emulates the tactile sensations being registered by the turtle. The mattress is made of a high tech gel material that imitates real skin. There’s also a control module that collects all the data from the turtle. This information can even be used to control music, delivering a personalized audio therapy to the baby based on their mother’s movements.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Babybe system:


Striving to connect mothers and babies at such an important stage of development, BabyBe uses technology to enable a form of interaction that’s otherwise not possible. Could similar technology be used to close the gap between parents and children who live away from each other, for example?



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