Archive for December 5, 2008

Doppler Radar Baby Monitor

From University of Florida News:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Radar — the technology that tracks enemy bombers and hurricanes — is now being employed to detect another danger: when babies stop breathing.

In a high-tech twist on the remote devices that allow parents to listen to or watch their baby from afar, University of Florida engineering researchers have built a prototype baby monitor that focuses on a baby’s breathing. If his or her chest stops moving, the crib-mounted monitor detects the problem and sends an alarm to a portable unit kept by the parents.

“It’s a step beyond just watching the baby through a video link or hearing it cry,” said Jenshan Lin, a UF professor of electrical and computer engineering and the principal investigator of the Doppler radar technology used in the monitor.

A paper on the system, which works by using Doppler radar to remotely scan the in-and-out movement of the baby’s chest due to respiration, will appear in the February issue of IEEE Microwave Magazine.

I remember back to my new mother days when I would wake up from a sound sleep of oh, say, maybe 5 minutes and run check to see if the baby was okay, sometimes startling him out of sleep. SwampMan told me I was worrying too much about a perfectly healthy, though slightly premature, baby but…..I was his mother. It was my job to worry about him and guard my little precious from every danger, both real and imagined, and I had one hell of an imagination.

Of course, by the time the next child was born, I was far more relaxed. “Momma, the baby is eating a bug!”

“Did you give the baby a bug to eat?”

“Yes.”

“What kind of bug?”

“A dead one.”

“Okay. Don’t feed the baby any more bugs.”

Maybe it’s a good thing that the Doppler Radar Baby Monitor wasn’t invented in time for the present grandchildren, or I would have made sure each parent had one. You can never be too careful with grandchildren, either. After all, those precious grandchildren are being taken care of by the child that fed bugs to his baby sister, and the baby sister who put kitties into a Ziplock bag and then sealed it in order to transport them more easily. Oh, sure, on the outside they may be competent human beings, but I knew them back when.

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