Smart home living
Nick Odantzis on his love of child-friendly technology
The idea of gadgets that help your child learn something in order for them to better understand the world around them is a good one. And if it gives them a head start in life? Sure, why not? It’s got to be more beneficial than them simply picking up an iPhone or iPad to do with whatever they desire when they need something to keep them occupied. Admittedly, there’s no replacement for you spending time with your kids, but it’s a step in the right direction in a world where small people increasingly seem to be hard– coded to pick up a digital device as soon as they can walk.
Mind you, we’re probably not helping with the volume of tech that we’re filling our homes with. These days, a child no longer needs to go and ask their parent the solution to a burning problem when there are a multitude of artificial assistants dotted around the home that are ready to respond with a much better answer than I could come up with.
But there’s some tech that you simply cannot do without if you have children. As a new parent, and a tech aficionado, I’ve taken to the baby tech scene like a fish to water (or should I say like a baby to milk). There’s lots of neat stuff out there, but the one thing I’ve really become fond of is the Netgear Arlo Baby Cam ($199.99,
arlo.com). Sure, it might seem like a lot of money just to keep an eye on your baby (rather than what you’d use a smart security cam for — to catch would–be– thieves trying to break into your home), but to me, having the luxury of putting my sleeping baby upstairs and then watching TV downstairs is priceless. Plus, this is no standard smart cam because it’s packed with cool baby-specific features such as crystal-clear 1080p video that even works brilliantly at night (which, let’s be honest, is when you’ll need it most); colorchanging lights, and a preset range of lullabies that help sooth your baby to sleep. Most importantly for me, it keeps tabs on the air quality around my baby, though as you’ll have read last issue, I’m still undecided whether knowing about this (and not be able to do that much about it) is such a good thing.
There’s one thing I don’t like about the Baby Cam, though, and I wonder if it’s the engineering team’s idea of a joke. The infrared night vision sensors built into the ‘face’ look like devil eyes — when the Arlo is wearing its “cute bunny” outfit, it brings back terrifying childhood memories of watching Watership Down!