After discovering the need for many parents to feel more at peace while their newborn babies are sleeping, Indian Americans Pavan Kumar and Sivakumar Nattamai, as well as Rubi Sanchez teamed up to create an all-purpose baby monitor, a press release here stated. Dubbed the Cocoon Cam, the Kumar-Nattamai-Sanchez creation not only covers the basic audio-video features, it also gauges a baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing.
While some monitors do offer those added features, Kumar pointed out that they are typically clip-on devices that sometimes lead to skin irritation, and they don’t monitor sleeping positions.
“Cocoon Cam is an intelligent wireless video camera designed for parents looking for a simple, secure way to monitor their newborns … without the need for uncomfortable wired, clip-on sensors, giving parents the peace of mind they deserve,” Kumar told India-West.
Kumar touts that the baby monitor will allow parents to view video and receive custom notifications via their smartphone “without compromising safety.” He added that Cocoon Cam’s “secret sauce includes computer vision and machine learning algorithms which detect vitals without contact.”
Cocoon Cam is a product under the umbrella of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Wearless Tech Inc. company founded by the baby monitor’s creators. Kumar serves as the chief technical officer, while Nattamai is the chief operating officer, and Sanchez is the company’s chief executive officer.
The Wearless Tech founders met in 2014 at various startup weekends and hackathons. During the course of those encounters, they developed a rapport with each other, which led to the prospect of starting the company.
It was in July 2014 when they realized there was a major concern of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by parents of newborns. Upon completing customer validation interviews that confirmed the concern of SIDS, Kumar said they “identified that there was a gap in the baby monitor market that was not currently met by existing baby monitoring solutions.” They then demonstrated the proof-of-concept for detecting a baby’s heart rate from video streams.
Kumar, 24, who was an intern at Apple and turned down a full-time job there to pursue Wearless Tech, developed the computer vision and machine learning technology behind Cocoon Cam to facilitate non-contact and non-invasive detection of skin temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate.
At MedHack San Francisco in September 2014, the group demonstrated a proof-of-concept and a panel of 27 judges from the medical, investment and entrepreneurship spaces voted it the “Most Practical Solution” at the event.
“Since then, we have been working on solving key challenges in building a prototype which can reliably monitor the baby in real-world conditions,” Kumar explained to India-West, adding they have been talking to people in attempts to establish partnerships to bring the monitor to market.
The Cocoon Cam is currently available for pre-order although two of the systems within the product still have patents pending. After obtaining a degree at M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bangalore, where he was born and raised, Kumar moved to the United States to pursue his master’s at U.C. San Diego in 2013. He now lives in Sunnyvale.
Kumar and the Wearless Tech team, however, aren’t stopping at just Cocoon Cam. There are plans to further enhance the technology they use to track newborn babies. “Besides leading our technology efforts, our R&D team will continuously work on developing techniques to monitor other vital signs, including blood oxygen levels, blood pressure, which can help us expand our product portfolio and provide more value for our current and future customers,” the Indian American said. He added, “Our vision is to use our amazing technology to completely redefine the limitations in the consumer caregiver monitoring, ICU monitoring, telehealth monitoring, security and surveillance spaces.”
Wearless Tech has raised an undisclosed amount in angel fund investments and received an I-Corps award from the National Science Foundation of $50,000 towards the commercialization of Cocoon Cam. In addition, facilities at Stanford University and U.C. San Diego have shown interest in running clinical trials on the product. Cocoon Cam is expected to be on the market in the first quarter of 2016.