September 23, 2004

The Caring Cot: Pampers Wants To Replace You With A Robot

caring_cot.JPGI remember feeling both ingenious and ironic when I installed The Clapper for a string of lights we were using as a lamp in our NYC apartment. Sure enough, it went on and off when I clapped. Unfortunately, it also went on and off and on and off--in the middle of the night--when garbage trucks rumbled down Lexington Avenue, half a block away.

This well-intentioned but ultimately disappointing ingenuity comes to mind when I read about The Caring Cot, the multiple input-monitoring cradle rocker designed by London student Garry Cho.

As reported by CNN and Engadget, The Caring Cot gently rocks a cradle when the baby inside cries for "more than 30 seconds." It also sounds an alarm when the temperature gets out of whack, a possible contributing cause of SIDS.

What's interests me about the Caring Cot is it's publicity history. Brunel College did its first press release in May for a student exhibit in July. But we're only hearing about it now because the big PR guns picked it up. Pampers UK co-sponsored "Big Sleep Week" (Last week. You missed it.) with Mother & Baby Magazine.

The highlight of Big Sleep Week, of course, was the Sleep Survey, which attempts to connect the dots between Mums' lack of sleep and just about every ill that befalls them. Two standouts: 71% say lack of sleep has "spoilt their sex life," and yet only 26% of dads wake up when the baby cries. 52% "simply slumber on or pretend to."

Clearly, Pampers is plotting to replace dads, step-by-step, role-by-role, with robots and electronic devices. I think we know where this is going.

[thanks Jen and Erich for uncovering this conspiracy]
The Device That Rocks The Cradle [CNN]
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle isn't mine [Engadget]

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