TALK to the makers of the next generation baby monitors unveiled at CES and you'd be surprised that generations of children survived infancy without artificial intelligence systems analyzing their every breath.

''Babies want to breathe. Babies want to live,'' says Colt Seman. co-founder of the  Los-Angeles based startup Miku, which promises to monitor breathing and heart rate without letting parents get overly worked up about it.

Regulators haven't approved any baby monitors for medical use and instead recommend parents focus on providing a safe sleeping environment. Some doctors worry that such devices create additional stress for parents.

Unlike most past offerings, the latest crop of baby monitors that measure vital signs are ''contactless'' - meaning they don't work by attaching some electronics to a baby's sock or chest.

Raybaby's device resembles a one-eyed robot that detects breathing patterns using radar technology. The non-ionizing radiation it emits is at low levels, but might still turn off  some parents  already concerned about keeping their babies too close to smartphones.

Most of the other devices rely on computer vision. A camera by Nanit watches a baby from above and measures sleeping patterns by tracking the slight movement of a specially designed swaddle.

It also uses the data it collects to recommend more consistent sleep times. Nanit's Aaron Pollack acknowledges that some parents might still check Nanit's phone app to check data five times a night out of sheer anxiety.''

''We're not trying to prevent that,'' he said. ''We're just trying to give you some piece of mind.''

Two others, Miku and Utah-based  Smartbeat, each boast of a level of precision and analytical rigor that could eventually help predict when the baby is going to get sick.

Both have phones and systems alert  to  report worrisome breathing irregularities.

Smartbeat's analysis is purely image-based, while Miku also uses radar. Miku's sleeker hardware comes at a cost. It's $399 , well above the $250 smartphone. [Agencies].


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