Satu Niemelä and Erasmus van Niekerk, the husband and wife team behind the Onni baby monitor, knew what they wanted out of a baby monitor. Instead of a cheap black-and-white camera they wanted full-color HD video. And instead of looking like a CCTV camera from the Island of Misfit Toys, they wanted the design to be pleasing and the software to be usable and easy to manage.
The Onni is chock-full of features. First, the built-in webcam allows anyone – with permission – to watch baby as he or she sleeps. You can also connect other IP-based webcams to the system and even play back MP3s or recorded heartbeats over the monitor’s small speaker.
The device also works with the Beddit baby monitoring system. The sensor rates the child’s quality of sleep and senses their heart rate, breathing, and movement. It is completely wireless and it lays under the child.
“We’ve designed something that we would have wanted to buy when we were in the market for a baby monitor, and we know there are other parents out there who see value in what we’ve done. Our product truly is designed by parents for parents,” said Niemelä.
The tiny Finnish company is almost completely self-funded and they’re currently preparing a pre-order system and have received some orders from UK retailers. They hope to sell in earnest in November.
“We’ve also been approached by two baby monitor manufacturers interested in licencing our web service, and we’re confident we have something unique to offer in this category,” said Niemelä.
As a father of three, I’m well aware of how horrible baby monitors are. The web-based ones usually break in actual use and the traditional “walkie-talkie” style ones have battery issues and sensitivity problems. In short, every monitor you add to your baby shower registry right now is junk (except, perhaps, a Dropcam that you simply set up on baby’s dresser.) Here’s hoping little Onni gains some traction and helps parents finally get the peace of mind they deserve.