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Corey Menscher’s “Kickee” – when the baby kicks it sends a message to Twitter. You can see the baby’s kicky tweets on Twitter here

The maker writes-

As a baby grows inside the womb, pregnant mothers are constantly and acutely aware of its presence mostly through its movements. With the Kickbee, I intend to extend a baby’s minute contact with the world beyond the mother’s body by sensing these movements and transmitting them to digital networks.

There’s something special about pregnant women’s bellies that make so many want to touch them. The presence of a child inside the womb is mysterious because we only have visual clues to its presence. Yet we know that if we press our hand and wait patiently, we may be greeted with a physical manifestation of its existence by feeling the baby’s subtle (and not so subtle) movements inside.

As an expectant father, I am once-removed from the physical knowledge my wife has of our baby and its development. With the Kickbee, I wanted to create a device that would give me a chance to be aware of our baby’s movements. It can also aid in tracking the frequency of fetal movements, which is an important way to monitor the health of the developing child.

The Kickbee is a wearable device made of a stretchable band and embedded electronics and sensors. Piezo sensors are attached directly to the band, and transmit small but detectable voltages when triggered by movement underneath. An Arduino Mini microcontroller transmits the signals to an accompanying Java application wirelessly via Bluetooth. (a SparkFun BlueSMIRF v2 module that communicates serially with a Macbook Pro)

The Java application receives the sensor values and analyzes them. When a kick event is detected, a Twitter message is posted via the Twitter API. I chose to use Twitter because it is easy to initiate an SMS message to any mobile phone when a kick is detected. It also acts as a data log that can be accessed programmatically for visualization or archiving.

In the Maker Shed:
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Botanicalls Kits let plants reach out for human help! They offer a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates to your mobile phone. When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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