The $1,200 Snoo Robo-Cradle Will Rock Your Baby to Sleep For You
ARVEY KARP IS a pediatrician and best-selling expert on infants and sleep, but you’d be excused if you mistook him for a Silicon Valley entrepreneur making a pitch. He’s selling a sensor-laden automated bassinet, and favors Valley-esque turns of phrase when describing it. “This takes babies’ sleep into the 21st century,” he says. “If you look at the design of baby beds, they haven’t changed in probably 3,000 years. They’re really just boxes you put babies in to keep the rats away.”
You couldn’t confuse Snoo with a box. The $1,160 bassinet has clean, midcentury-style lines and stands on metal hairpin legs. Its wood frame hides sensors, microphones, speakers, and motors that respond to a baby’s cries with gentle rocking and a soothing shush. Karp spent five years developing Snoo with engineers from the MIT Media Lab and designer Yves Béhar. With its price and earnest use of technology, Snoo would seem to epitomize the hyper-attentive parenting of the affluent.
But Karp’s vision is more practical than precious. He sees parents getting more sleep and babies getting more stimulation. He believes newborns should live in an environment more like the womb—a naturally noisy, turbulent place. Karp cemented his ideas into the parenting zeitgeist over a decade ago, with his popular book and DVD series, The Happiest Baby, which provides lessons on different styles of rocking and shushing.