Designed to bridge the gap when parents cannot be there, Hugsy extends the positive effects of vital physical contact by echoing the sensorial hallmarks of a parent’s physical presence even when they are away. This smart blanket combines evidence-based, non-pharmacological comforting techniques: skin-to-skin contact, swaddling, facilitated tucking, audible heartbeat, and aromatherapy. It absorbs and retains a parent’s comforting scent during precious one-on-one moments, while its heartbeat module records and plays back the parent’s unique heartbeat when the parents can’t be nearby.
As a rule, all babies are soothed by the sense of closeness a swaddle creates, but this takes on a new urgency for premature babies. The recreation of a physical embrace can help to reduce pain and stress experienced in neonatal intensive care units, which are otherwise isolated and lonely environments. The blanket’s portable nature ensures that this experience can be replicated anywhere with great ease – from hospital incubators for babies fighting for survival, to cots at home with healthy babies who just need a little more attention.
Hugsy is already undergoing clinical trials in both hospitals and the homes of eager volunteers around the Netherlands. Initial results reported by both medical teams and parents have been encouragingly positive, and future trials have been lined up to continue to collect quantitative feedback for product improvement.
Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
Prof. Dr. Sidarto Bambang Oetomo, Dr. Ir. Peter Peters
Sylvie Claes, Jiachun Du, Miguel Guerra, Lisa Malou Smits
By starting the video, you agree that data, e.g. your IP address, will be sent to Vimeo. vimeo.com/privacy