TORONTO - First there was audio, then video. Now baby monitors have gone really high-tech.
Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) announced Tuesday that it has partnered with U.S.-based biomedical engineering company Exmovere Holdings Inc., for the launch of digital pyjamas, called Exmobaby, later this year.
The machine-washable outfit has embedded sensors and a AAA-battery powered wireless transmitter that beams information to a computer, smartphone or tablet.
The manufacturer claims the product can perform electrocardiogram tests to measure electrical activity in the heart, monitor skin temperature and movement, and detect mood changes.
Expected to be available sometime after October, a starter kit with four outfits is to sell for $149, plus a $9.99 monthly service plan.
Rogers will be the exclusive provider of wireless service for Exmobaby in Canada and will also use some of its media properties to market the product, said Mansell Nelson, vice president of the company's machine-to-machine division.
As a father of two older kids, he can imagine how useful the product might be for today's parents.
"It's the notion of peace of mind. I know there was a debate even with my kids if they should be on their tummy or their backs and all that stuff and if the child turns over now, you get a beep on your smartphone," Nelson says.
"You don't have to wake up every few hours and go and check."
Exmovere says the product sends data from the pyjamas once a minute and emits minimal radiation. The product does not have the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Rogers has done its own internal testing of the product and believes it is completely safe, although it's still up to parents to decide whether it's right for their child, Nelson says.
"We don't just put our name or association on anything so there is a certain degree of (endorsement), we're confident it does what it says it's supposed to do," he says.
But "we don't claim to be a group of medical experts either."
There will likely be some healthy skepticism about the medical merits of the product. In a New York Times profile of Exmovere, two physicians from the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York expressed doubts about the value of the product. Dr. Robert Marion, chief of genetics and developmental medicine, said it looked "crazy" and warned the device might malfunction and cause parents "unbelievable anxiety."