‘Intelligent stroller’ pushes itself to allow for parents to walk, run hands-free

A new stroller has caught the attention of many parents due to its features and functions, including allowing parents to walk and run hands-free of the stroller while it pushes itself.

Smartbe is an “intelligent stroller” that is supposed to make parenting easier, its makers say on their Indiegogo page.

Some of the stroller’s features include a built-in bottle warmer, rocker and retractable canopy.

A Vancouver-based parenting coach said she can understand why the stroller would be convenient for parents and caregivers.

“It’s like the ultimate travel device,” said Julie Romanowski, parenting coach and consultant, to Global News during a telephone interview. “For busy parents with a very young child, or new parents, [the stroller] definitely has a place – I get it I totally get it.”

Romanowski said that the ability for the stroller to have everything a parent would typically need for their baby or child makes travelling with a young one easier.

She went on to say that for the digital era we live in, having an intelligent stroller with certain features that hook up to your smartphone, “makes perfect sense.”

However, Romanowski said just because certain functions are available, doesn’t mean parents have to use them all the time.

“I hope people don’t leave their baby in it all day. The way it looks is like you don’t have to parent anymore, your machine will take care of it,” said Romanowski.

She also emphasized the need for human connection, especially for newborns.

“Prioritize and make sure human connection is number one. You have to touch to establish a healthy attachment [and] development,” said Romanowski.

Another notable feature of the stroller includes the ability for parents to run or walk hands-free from the stroller since the stroller will push itself. Sensors built into the stroller will allow for the device to stay within a safe distance of the parent.

As well, there are safety features that include a wheel lock function that will stop the stroller, if necessary, an anti-theft alarm and safety belt wrist strap.

“You have access to all the options, but that doesn’t mean you have to use all of the options,” said Romanowski.

Comments online on the stroller’s ability to propel itself while a parent walks, or runs, alongside it has seemed to be the main focus of discussion and concern. Especially since it involves the safety of a young child.

But there did seem to be some people who were supporters of the stroller.

The technology behind creating a stroller that’s able to move on its own however is not a new concept.

In 2015, Volkswagen showed a demo of an automated stroller “as a joke” that self-propelled, self-steered, self-drove self-stopped. And just like many of the critics of Smartbe, Volkswagen said the main concern from onlookers, mostly parents, was the safety of their children.

“There aren’t too many moms and dads ready to trust this sort of technology,” Volkswagen said in a blog about their self-driving stroller. But the company said you never know what the future may hold. The fact that the company’s engineers were able to create such a stroller proved, at the time, that a self-propelled stroller was possible.

And two years later, Smartbe claims to be the company that has perfected the safety features.

“Smartbe fulfills all US & European Safety Regulations also going beyond, providing safety features not possible without the addition of electricity and leading edge mobile technology,” wrote the creators behind the intelligent stroller.

The stroller starts at $US399, for the most basic of the models without the self-propelled function, while the most expensive models, which does include the ability for the stroller to push itself, goes for $US3199.

According to Smartbe’s Indiegogo page, the company surpassed its goal to fund the stroller on February 18, 2016

Today.com reports the stroller will official launch in 2018.

Global News has reached out to Smartbe, and its CEO, for comment but didn’t hear back by time of posting.




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