Utah-based Owlet Baby Care, maker of smart socks for infant health monitoring, has announced the second generation of its device as well as a new connected care platform that will roll out with the Owlet Smart Sock 2.
“From day one, our mission at Owlet has been to revolutionize the way we care for our infants, and that starts with understanding their overall health,” Owlet CEO and cofounder Kurt Workman said in a statement. “The launch of the new Owlet Smart Sock 2, with its unparalleled insights through the Connected Care platform, is getting us even closer to that goal. We’re now helping parents take a more proactive approach to their baby’s health by giving them a more complete picture. This is part of our mission to empower parents with the right information at the right time. We believe that each baby has a right to have Mom and Dad there when they need them, and the first step is to empower parents with that information so that they can act.”
Like the original Owlet Smart Sock, the Smart Sock 2 tracks an infant's heart rate, skin temperature, blood oxygenation and sleep data. But the new sock boasts a number of incremental but important improvements over the original: An improved Bluetooth radio means it now works if the sock is up to 100 feet away from the base station; it's been redesigned to fit more securely on a baby's foot and to be harder for the infant to kick off; and it can be worn on either foot, allowing parents to alternate it if necessary. In addition, the sensor placement on the app is more accurate and the sock fits more intuitively, the company said in a statement.
The new Connected Care platform currently gives parents access to more historical trend data than they previously could access and more detailed tracking around when alarms occured. They can also do some basic trend analysis, looking at averages and rates for different metrics. But Owlet has much bigger plans for the future of the platform – plans that take them further into the medical realm.
"Owlet's vision is that with the Connected Care platform, parents and medical professionals may one day be able to identify patterns and trends in an infant's vitals leading to early illness detection, as well as underlying health issues," the company writes in its press release. "These may include sleep irregularities, RSV, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, chronic lung disorders (CLDI) and Congenital Heart Defects (CHD)."
Owlet has been among the most high-profile startups in the smart infant monitoring space, with more than $25 million in funding, including some grant-related funding from the National Institutes of Health. The company has a medical director and has conducted some validation studies on its technology, but doesn't yet have FDA clearance.
While connected infant companies like Owlet tout their devices as providing peace of mind for parents, an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this year suggested that the devices have shown no evidence of a medical benefit -- and they might actually be harmful by causing parents undue alarm.