On an early episode of the hit animated television show, The Simpsons, Homer’s half-brother (voiced by Danny DeVito) invents the world’s first baby translator, a machine that tells parents what a baby is thinking by analyzing its babble. Fast-forward ten years and a new product claims to do virtually the same thing. Well, almost.
On an early episode of the hit animated television show, The Simpsons, Homer’s half-brother (voiced by Danny DeVito) invents the world’s first baby translator, a machine that tells parents what a baby is thinking by analyzing its babble. Fast-forward 15 years and a new product claims to do virtually the same thing. Well, almost.
I recently received an email from a Sympatico MSN reader who asked about a gadget that can tell you why a baby is crying. It reminded me of something I played around with a couple of years back: the WhyCry.
The WhyCry baby analyzer is a handheld electronic monitor that allegedly identifies the reasons why a baby is crying. The integrated microphone picks up different pitches and within 20 seconds will digitally analyze the baby’s cry and display it as one of five reasons: hunger, boredom, discomfort, sleepiness or stress; one of the five faces on the front of this battery-powered unit will light up to offer a visual prognosis to parents, babysitters and other caregivers.
According to the company, the success rate is over 87 percent, or up to 98 percent when used in conjunction with the symptoms chart (included).
We put the WhyCry to the test with Nathan, an 11-week-old baby boy whose mother, Sharon Cohn, benefits from previous experience: two-and-a-half-year-old twins. As a third-time mom, Sharon felt she would be able to tell if the machine was accurate or not.
After seven days with the product, Sharon said the WhyCry was accurate in its assessment of her baby’s hunger cries, but thought 20 seconds was too long to wait for the results. "By this time, I already given my son his bottle – a mom needs to work fast, you know" says Sharon. "But I can see how first-time parents could benefit from this device if they’re unsure."
While she admits it’s more than just a "gimmick," Sharon says experienced moms would not have a use for this product. "If I received it as a gift, I’d probably return it."
The WhyCry retails for $82 and includes four AA alkaline batteries, a manual, instructional booklet and adjustable Velcro strap to fasten the unit to a stroller or crib.
Ridiculous? Ingenius? Both? Tell us what you think — whether you’ve actually tried (or own) this product or what you think of the concept.