More than a gadget for tech savvy parenting, this smart highchair combines safety, health monitoring, and innovation. But will it succeed on Kickstarter?
Thanks to the unlimited selection of apps available for download, parents can now measure, track and log every aspect of their baby’s development. And while these apps aim to take the hassle out of parenting, many leave a lot to be desired.
That’s where Smart Froc, a first of a kind smart highchair that launched on Kickstarter on Wednesday, comes in.
A smarter alternative
The highchair has weight sensors underneath the seat that measure and automatically record a child’s weight, and the data is sent to an app that parents can use to monitor their child’s progress. Monitoring a baby’s weight is essential, especially in the first few months, because it’s an indicator of development and can help a parent identify inadequate or excessive weight gain. This can also reassure a parent that their child has received enough food during feeding time.
While most parents are aware of this, few weigh their babies regularly enough to understand if there are any feeding problems. More often than not, this is because babies are too light to be weighed at home using a normal scale. Smart Froc aims to solve this problem.
“We believe that the Froc chair has a lot of advantages since it enabled feeding and weighing [sic] of the child at the same time during a longer time period, which means a simpler monitoring of [a] child’s development,” Maruša Gruden Košir, Froc Co-Founder, told Geektime.
In addition to measuring and tracking weight, the Smart Froc app uses an algorithm to determine normal weight and age trends. If, for example, a baby’s weight is above or below the average, the parent will receive a notification to see a pediatrician.
Safety before innovation
But Smart Froc is more than just a tech savvy gadget. Designed by two parents, comfort and safety are at the heart of this product. Košir explained, “Ever since our son Taj was born, me and my husband were looking for a practical, safe, modern highchair. But everything we’ve found was either based on a 40-year old design, made of plastic or really unsafe. For all these reasons we went into the development of a new highchair.” And so Froc was born.
Froc, the predecessor to Smart Froc, is the product of a Slovenia-based family company. It hit the markets in 2012 and was received well everywhere from Europe to Japan. The highchair was designed in such a way that it’s basically impossible to knock over. It comes with a special safety belt to keep babies safe and has passed several European safety standards. What makes this chair particularly unique is that the back rest, foot rest and seat height can be adjusted, making it suitable for kids from 6 months to 10 years of age. The chair comes in a selection of five different colors and is compact enough to fit in even the tiniest studio apartment.
In many ways Froc seems like the perfect highchair. Yet Matej Košir and Maruša Gruden Košir, the husband-wife team behind the highchair, still weren’t satisfied. “We made Froc better equipped for modern families, but we wanted to create something unique. What if you could monitor your child’s development using your high chair?” said Košir.
That’s how they got the idea for Smart Froc, a chair that combines everything the Froc has to offer with weight-monitoring sensors. To get the sensors working properly, the Koširs teamed up with MakerLab Ljubljana, a team of tech enthusiasts from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana.
The Smart Froc Kickstarter campaign was launched on Wednesday with a funding goal of $55,000. The first 300 backers who contribute $149 or more will receive their own Smart Froc and the chairs are expected to retail for $299. Other rewards include the Smart Froc highchair, baby set, and cushion set for backers who contribute $279 or more. They aim to start shipping in April 2016.
With another 44 days to go, it will be interesting to see what kind of response this smart product gets on Kickstarter. While this certainly is a novel product, its success will likely be determined by how well it manages to differentiate itself from the many other baby apps on the crowdfunding platform.
Here you can see Smart Froc in action: