For people who like to take their baby out for a walk but don't want the hassle of having to hold onto the stroller, there may be a new product on the market within the next year to solve that dilemma. It's a self-pushing stroller.
The entrepreneurs who came up with the idea of this "intelligent" stroller (called the Smartbe) are still trying to raise the funds to move forward with it. They are using Indiegogo.com to raise $80,000. If they're able to reach that goal, the strollers could begin shipping by the end of the year.
The idea of a self-pushing stroller likely sends chills down the spines of many parents who can imagine all sorts of worst-case scenarios. However, for parents who want to be able to keep their hands free, perhaps to hold onto other children, the Smartbe might have some appeal.
It won't come cheap. The retail price is predicted to be $2,750. It is activated by a smartphone app that tracks the motion of the person using it, whether he or she is walking or running. It has other features, including a bottle warmer and a radio.
Some people, needless to say, have expressed some concerns about the safety of the Smartbe. Although it contains a stop cord that parents or guardians can attach to their wrist to stop the stroller if necessary, one concern is the potential for it to be hacked.
The threat of hacking isn't unfounded. Other baby products that are connected to the Internet, such as baby monitors, have been the target of hackers. One family recently discovered that someone had hacked into their baby monitor and was speaking to their child.
As cars and other vehicles have become increasingly digitalized, the potential for someone being able to take control of them remotely has proven to be a reality. Smaller items like baby products are even easier to hack into and don't require as much expertise to do so.
Of course, a stroller controlled via an app presents a host of potential legal issues. What if it malfunctions and the parents aren't able to control it? What happens if it hits a pothole or a particularly steep hill? At what point can the manufacturer be held liable for what could end up being a tragic accident? All of this will no doubt have to be sorted out at some point.
Source: Huffington Post, "Behold The Self-Pushing Stroller. What Could Go Wrong?," Casey Williams, Jan. 22, 2016