Although it was released in the UK last year, American consumers can now also get their mitts on the Smart Baby Monitor. Made by French company Withings, the monitor allows parents to check on their little 'uns via their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The word "smart" in its name refers to the fact that it contains not only a camera, but also sensors that detect sound, movement, temperature and humidity levels. So in other words, it's a smart baby monitor, and not a monitor that's designed specifically for use with smart babies - as far as we know, it's compatible with babies of any level of intelligence.
The monitor's hinged design allows its wide-angle 3-megapixel camera to be tilted or swiveled into place when being set up. That camera automatically switches on its infrared LEDs when the light gets dim, enabling its night vision function, plus it has a 4X zoom that lets users get a closer look at their infant.
Should the baby start crying, tossing or turning, or if things get too hot, cold, wet or dry in its room, the onboard sensors will detect the change, and activate an alert on the parents' iDevice. The parameters of all the sensors are entirely user-adjustable.
If the baby is crying, parents are able to both hear it and speak soothingly to it, using the monitor's two-way microphone. They can also activate a lullaby-playing feature, or turn on its built-in night light. In order to access any of the monitor's functions, the user's mobile device must be running Withings' free WithBaby app, which can be downloaded from the App Store.
The Smart Baby Monitor connects to the internet via a Wi-Fi hotspot in the home or an Ethernet cable, or it can bypass the internet and communicate directly with the iDevice via Bluetooth - assuming the user is reasonably close by (and they'd better be, unless they're using a sitter).
It is available now from the Withings website, for US$299. A competing product should be on the market soon, in the form of the BabyPing system.