There’s a fetus on Twitter. Yes, really.
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.
Actually, this wasn’t intended to show off; the original idea was to get the information to the father’s iPhone, and Twitter is being used primarily as a data log.
The piezo sensors are simple sensors that generate a very small electrical current when tapped or vibrated. They are not powered in any way. The wires … on the front go to the two sensors, plus a button and an RGB LED that indicates when it’s in “standby” or “active” mode (which pauses updates to Twitter). The Arduino and Bluetooth module are at the mother’s back. I’ve spoken to faculty about this, and considering the very low wattage, it’s unlikely much of the electromagnetic radiation will reach the baby. Even so, I’m looking into placing the circuitry on radio-absorbing material.
The Twitter feed also goes to the mother’s iPhone, but I suspect she’s already aware of the “kick event” as it happens.