Father creates a camera that detects when his baby is hungry

There’s nothing that can really prepare you for the rigors of being a new parent like crippling fatigue, but Caleb Olson has come up with a clever way to avoid at least one challenge of having a newborn: cry when hungry. Your new AI powered webcam detect signs of hunger before the tears begin to flow.

The last time we featured Olson’s work, he came up with a way to harness a backyard security camera to detect when your dog had pooped and then guide it to each deposit using a laser pointer attached to a robotic arm. It was over the top but surprisingly effective, but since then, the Olson family has added another mouth to feed. And this mouth starts crying loudly if its meals are late. The solution, once again, was to use an AI model capable of recognizing specific facial and body postures so that Olson could anticipate tears.

The Hungry Baby Alarm

Crying is actually considered a late-stage sign that a baby is hungry, and unfortunately, when a newborn reaches the point of being physically upset as a result, it can make feeding more of a challenge. It’s best to feed a hungry baby before he cries, but it’s also almost impossible to maintain a continual vigil for other signs of hunger when you’re struggling to balance all the tasks that a newborn brings along with exhaustion.

Most new parents also have a camera pointed at a baby that streams live video to devices like a phone, which Olson cleverly upgraded to autonomously watch for telltale signs of hunger. These include lip smacking (opening and closing the mouth repeatedly), refusing a pacifier, searching and moving the head back and forth to find a food source, and bringing the fists to the mouth.

Olson used machine learning Google’s MediaPipe to monitor live streaming from the camera and look for these movements and behaviors, but on their own, they don’t necessarily mean a newborn is ready for a meal. So Olson assigned these behaviors different levels of importance, and as they are detected, they contribute to an overall score. Once the score passes a certain threshold, Olson’s phone receives a notification that his baby is ready to feed. Sometimes a pacifier accidentally falls out of a baby’s mouth, or a yawn can feel like the beginning of a lip smack when it’s just a yawn.

The system isn’t 100% foolproof, and in the video, Olson assures us that her family continues to prioritize her pediatrician’s advice when it comes to feeding her newborn. But even if it doesn’t prevent crying all the time (there are still plenty of reasons a baby will cry), the few times it can prevent tears so Olson and his partner can get a few extra minutes of sleep makes it completely worth it. the effort.

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