December 17, 2008

The Kickbee -- a belt worn by pregnant women that sends a text message every time the baby kicks.

This was an NYU class project, so I think it's more of a cool what-if idea than something any sane person ought to want to be at either the sending or receiving end of, but still...
Corey Menscher, whose wife, Ellen, is eight months pregnant with the couple's first baby, wanted to (at least digitally) feel each and every kick their active little pre-born babe was making.
His wife wanted to feel it? How about the old-fashioned way of feeling things by feeling them? What's next? An electronic device to be worn while engaging in sexual intercourse that notifies you when you're having an orgasm? (I know, you're thinking but it could Twitter all my friends, it could record various time and intensity measurements.) [ADDED: Okay, I misread that. I skipped the word "is." Sorry. The idea of putting a belt on a pregnant woman makes me lose my mind.]
"I have a vibrating device in my pocket at all times," says Menscher. "Every time the baby kicks, it uploads a message to the server and I get a text message on my phone as well."...

"It's also great for couples who are away from ech [sic] other a lot." Dan O'Sullivan, an NYU professor who teaches the course for which the Kickbee was made, says the pregnancy belt shouldn't just be construed as silly.

"If it keeps fathers hanging around more, and gets them more involved with their kids, it's a very good thing," he says.
If... always if...

Tell me, would you males "keep hanging around more" if only you were fitted with a buzzer that kept you constantly in touch with your wife's womb?

27 comments:

Henry said...

Tell me, would you males "keep hanging around more" if only you were fitted with a buzzer that kept you constantly in touch with your wife's womb?

Replace "buzzer" with "tether" and you have a product.

Joan said...

My oldest child could be doing somersaults in utero but would unfailingly become still as a stone whenever my husband put his hand on my belly to feel the baby moving around. The only time my husband got to feel any in-utero movement from the little guy was when he got the hiccups. Since that happened about 6 times a day, it wasn't too much of a problem.

I'm not engaged enough with technology to want to Twitter -- I signed up to follow Lileks at the conventions, but I never look at it now. The idea of auto-twitters being generated from baby kicks is both cool and ridiculous, but harmless in the end, unless it contributes to a couple obsessively monitoring a pregnancy. I think it could help a husband understand how exhausting it can be to carry a particularly athletic child, especially when you factor in that the baby is typically using Mom's bladder as his trampoline. Perhaps it could also be used to monitor the movements of the babies in at-risk pregnancies, in a much less invasive way than having to be strapped to a monitor in a hospital bed.

I can't imagine the kind of guy who would initiate using this belt. I can imagine the kind of guy who would agree to get it if his wife asked him to. Most people allow pregnant women their lunacies -- but maybe this idea is just encouraging them to be even more obsessive?

MadisonMan said...

What happens when the pregnant kickbee-wearer is driving on a bumpy road, or is on the subway and it's changing tracks?

How many false positives does a father have to endure for the sake of being connected to his wife's expanding uterus?

ricpic said...

Kill all metrosexuals! Crush their skulls!!

Hazy Dave said...

His wife wanted to feel it?

No, "Corey Menscher ... wanted to (at least digitally) feel each and every kick." A little awkward in construction, perhaps, but not ungrammatical.

Our oldest was extremely active during a symphony concert in the eighth month; probably the earliest sign of her musical aptitude.

LordSomber said...

Wasn't this how the Borg got their start?

Hazy Dave said...

If the orgasmo-twitterer could be implanted without the subject's knowledge, (or secreted in a wedding band, perhaps) you'd definitely have a product.

James said...

How many women would wear a Kickbee on the way to an abortion clinic? Just curious.

Dave said...

Hazy Dave is right. The sentence refers to the husband, not the wife.

former law student said...

"If it keeps fathers hanging around more, and gets them more involved with their kids, it's a very good thing," he says.

I was thinking the father could take the fetus (with his/her support creature, of course) to a ball game, or perhaps a pool hall. But then I realized: men bond by doing things together. So what's needed is an interactive game that fathers and fetuses could play together.

Ann Althouse said...

Hazy is right. I misread it. Correction added.

tim maguire said...

I suspect that the first couple messages are received with excitement, then with recognition, and, after a half-dozen of so, it gets turned off.

I prefer the system my wife and I used, where she told me she felt the baby kick, I excitedly tried to feel it myself, didn't, accused her of playing a trick on me, and finally, after a few weeks, felt it for real and had my first true father-daughter experience. There's no need for technology to get in the way.

peter hoh said...

Headline marks career change for former GOP governor:

Huckabee to be Kickbee huckster.

former law student said...

Huckabee to be Kickbee huckster.

Unless he would rather be a Flowbee huckster:

http://www.flowbee.com/

Meade said...

"Tell me, would you males "keep hanging around more" if only you were fitted with a buzzer that kept you constantly in touch with your wife's womb?"

Personally, I would not. Honestly, at that point, I felt my reproductive job was done, I was no longer necessary, and if my wife wanted to share womb-development news with someone, she could text message Maureen Dowd about it.

But I can see where Andrew Sullivan would have appreciated continual real-time updates on, oh, certain Wasilla women's wombs.

peter hoh said...

Maybe Blagojevich could become a spokesperson for the product.

From kickbacks to Kickbee.

Heather said...

I could see a use for this for doctors to monitor at risk pregnancies.

Husbands not so much.

Tibore said...

I got a better idea: Include an accelerometer in the belt. Have the belt send a specific text when the force is above a specific threshold. Then, instead of just texting the husband, you can use a dedicated remote device that, when the specific "above threshold" text is received, shocks him in the solar plexus to knock the wind out of him, then shocks his head so he feels dizzy. At that point, he can start writing articles titled "Be Careful What You Wish For".

Oh, wait... better idea: Take one of those fake movie prosthetics (the "pregnant belly" one), hollow it out, and place a small but powerful electronic pushrod-type device in it. Then have it clock him in the ribs really hard when the accelerometer sends the above threshold text.

While we're at it, how 'bout a morning sickness belt? When reflux activity is detected in the mother, a device on the father stimulates regurgitation.

Man!... we can go on forever coming up with stupid sh... er, wonderful innovations...

MayBee said...

I can see a use for it during the 8th hormonal and bitter month, when the kicking baby keeps the woman from sleeping at night.
Putting his phone with the ringer on high under his pillow at 3 am would seem the perfect sharing of the pregnancy at that point.

As for the couple that isn't together much during the pregnancy-- how about something for after the baby is born? Perhaps he could get a text every time the baby cries.

That would be beautiful.

Henry said...

As for the couple that isn't together much during the pregnancy-- how about something for after the baby is born? Perhaps he could get a text every time the baby cries.

They could build it into the deadbeat dad ankle bracelet.

MayBee said...

How much does he want to understand the pregnancy?
How about a PeeBee?

Freeman Hunt said...

Kickbee users had better have unlimited texting. Now, at six months, my husband would be getting dozens of Kickbee texts a day. That would be annoying. Though maybe not as annoying as having to wear a belt all the time while pregnant.

How much does he want to understand the pregnancy?
How about a PeeBee?


LOL

And for the first trimester, perhaps a BarfBee.

Meade said...

And then, after the final trimester, if the new father REALLY wants to understand the mother's experience: hand the precious suckler to him just before the little bundle of joy loses her lunch down the inside of dad's shirt. Nothing creates a bond between father and baby like projectile vomiting.

Eric said...

Tell me, would you males "keep hanging around more" if only you were fitted with a buzzer that kept you constantly in touch with your wife's womb?

Actually, it would make me reevaluate the wisdom of my decision to marry her. Anybody that clingy can't be a good partner in the long run.

TosaGuy said...

Why do I just know that this couple will turn this kid over to a nanny or daycare about one day after the the couple maxes out any maternal leave it may have.

John Burgess said...

Wow! It seems that pregnancy is seen as a really bad thing what with all these vengeance fantasies.

To cheer things up, how about if the 'buzzer' were somehow connected to the husband's penis? It could offer a varying degree of stimulation, depending on the intensity of the baby's movement.

Dad could learn to love a kid that did that.

blake said...

constantly in touch with your wife's womb?

Isn't that called "the honeymoon"?