Pregnancy & Antenatal Care
How can we enhance the emotional experience of pregnancy for fathers ?
The birth of a child is a very special occasion in a couple's life. However, the bulk of the experience belongs to the mother as she is bearing the baby. The fathers miss out on the experience of connecting with the baby while it's still growing inside the mother. This makes it difficult for them to adjust to the new role of a parent after birth. During our research, we found that the absence of a physical connection holds the fathers back from emotionally bonding with the child. So we decided to give the fetus a physical personification even before its birth. Presenting Bloom, a smart device that monitors the health of the fetus and facilitates the fathers to bond with their unborn child.
Internet of Things
Ideation, Product Visualization, Prototyping
Bloom - ECO System
The Bloom eco system consists of (1) a wireless fetal heart rate and movement sensor (2) the physical object which personifies the fetus and (3) a dedicated app support. The sensor continuously picks up real time data and pushes it into the cloud for health monitoring and keeping a record of baby vitals. The app becomes the interface for interacting with that information, and our physical smart device mirrors the information in visual perceivable form.
(1) Real time heart beat simulation of the fetus:
The most important feature of Bloom is that it picks up the heart rate readings from the sensor and simulates a visual throbbing effect. This mirrors the real time heart rate of the fetus and it can now be perceived as a living entity outside the mother's body.
(2) Tracking the baby movements:
Experiencing the baby movements and kicks would no longer be just experienced by the mothers. Bloom helps give a visual cue through the device. Whenever there is any movement picked up by the sensor, it is shown by an animated light throbbing.
(3) The sound of life:
If the users put their ear on Bloom, they can also hear the feeble heart beats reconstructed from the real time data coming from the sensors. It s a similar experience of that of listening to a human heart beat. Providing an audio visual feedback helps the parents to see Bloom as a real avatar of the life growing inside.
(4) The growing life:
The size of the light which throbs like a heart beat grows in size as the pregnancy proceeds. This makes the device 'grow' with the fetus and becomes a visual marker to track the growing life.
Why is it important?
During our secondary research, we found enough evidences which suggested the importance of the bond between fathers and the unborn baby.
Infants whose fathers were absent— and had no involvement in the pregnancy— were more likely to be born with lower birth weight and to be born prematurely.
When there's a healthy attachment between baby and parent, the baby comes to believe that the world is a safe place. This is the beginning of the establishment of trust
It is important for new fathers to bond with the baby in the utero as this would help them forge a strong bond and make adjustment to fatherhood after the baby’s birth a little easier.
The mood-board consisted of images that were visually very soft and abstracted from the form of a baby. Colors were mostly white to denote purity.
A 3d printed prototype was made and the heart beat lighting was simulated by simple Arduino programming to create the desired effect. The prototype was later tested with a real life expecting couple to gauge their feedback and understand their reactions to an idea like this. They also volunteered to be our models for the concept video.