One of the most difficult problems for parents, especially first-time parents, is their baby’s sleep: Is he sleeping enough? Is she sleeping well? Is he lying on his stomach or his back?
Because we can’t be next to the baby’s crib or bed all the time, this information has not been available to us – until now.
Nanit is an Israeli startup that has developed a smart monitor that tracks what happens in the infant’s bed. What is special about this monitor, however, is a set of computer vision algorithms that also make it possible to detect and analyze behavior and patterns during sleep. On Wednesday, the startup announced a $6.6 million financing round.
Detecting and analyzing sleep patterns
The Nanit monitor contains a camera placed above the baby’s bed that monitors their behavior during sleep. The camera provides high definition (HD) video, and includes a night vision setting, so the parents can monitor their baby at all times. In addition, the camera can detect sleep patterns, parental intervention, sleep cycles, and how many hours of sleep have been accumulated. According to these measures, Nanit generates ratings for both night and day sleep. All the communications are encrypted according to the AES 256-bit standard. With the help of Nanit’s smartphone app, the parents can gain insights about the infant’s sleep, video alerts, behavioral analysis, and more. Incidentally, the interface resembles a timeline on a social network, with updates like “Uri has woken up” and “Uri fell asleep by himself.”
The camera involves two types of costs. The recommended consumer price for the smart camera will be $350, with the camera being offered upon launch at $280 for a limited time only. The second cost is the analysis of behavior during sleep, which is offered as a monthly subscription costing $10 a month, or $50 a year in the framework of the launch bargain. The camera will be released in the United States this September.
Nanit was founded by computer vision and machine learning specialist CEO Assaf Glazer; CTO Tor Ivry, who worked with Glazer at Applied Materials and Royal Philips Electronics; and COO Andrew Berman, an investor in Norwest Venture Partners. The current $6.6 million financing round was led by the Upfront Ventures fund, with participation from RRE Ventures, the 645 Ventures fund, the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, Flextronics, and Cloud Ventures. The company currently has 16 employees: six in its U.S. offices and 10 in its Ramat Gan development center.
Speaking with Geektime, Glazer said that like all researchers, he arrived at his idea out of curiosity. “When my son was born four years ago, I wanted to understand his behavior, to be sure that he was healthy and safe, and to be the best parent I could. If I could get a little sleep at the same time, it would be even better, and that’s what made me take my experience in constructing smart cameras and using it to create the world’s first smart baby monitor, which can help parents communicate with their baby, and to understand their children. We added all the features that parents like us would want, and we discovered that when the babies sleep better, so do we.”
When we asked about parents’ anxiety about devices that emit radiation near their baby, Glazer replied, “We thought about that already at the product design stage. That’s why we designed the camera so that it would emit a tenth as much radiation in the sleeping baby’s direction as in other directions, in contrast to ordinary security cameras. Laboratory tests we did showed that our camera emits less radiation than other baby monitors that include cameras, and which are being sold now.”
Watch how Nanit works here: