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18 / 12 / 2008 - Pregnancy belt allows unborn babies to open Facebook `chat-womb`
For any mother-to-be, the feeling of little feet kicking inside them is a reassuring sign that their baby is thriving.
And now expectant mums can share the experience with their friends on internet networking sites, such as Facebook.
Many parents already create Facebook pages for their newborns, updating them regularly with pictures for friends and family.
But expectant mothers will be able to share their baby's progress before they even give birth after the development of a pregnancy belt that records their movements and downloads the information to the website.
The invention, which uses sensors to track the movement of the foetus in the womb, will allow excited mothers to automatically post daily progress reports of their child online.
The Kickbee sends a signal to a computer every time the baby moves, with a message such as: 'I kicked mummy at 11:38am.'
Sensors on the belt generate a small electrical current when tapped or vibrated by a baby's movement.
The belt's microcontroller then transmits the signal directly to the website using wireless Bluetooth technology.
It can also monitor how often the baby kicks and send updated messages if the foetus is particularly active. The device can already send updates to the messaging website Twitter. Future versions will use sites such as Facebook as well.
The stretchy pregnancy belt, which is still at the prototype stage, was developed by PhD student Corey Menscher, of New York University, after his wife became pregnant.
He said: 'As a baby grows inside the womb, pregnant mothers are constantly aware of its presence, mostly through its movements.
'As an expectant father, I wanted to create a device that would give me a chance to be aware of our baby's movements.
'With the Kickbee, I intend to extend a baby's minute contact with the world beyond the mother's body by sensing these movements and transmitting them.'
The belt could also provide a serious medical use by monitoring the child's development in the womb and warning mothers if their child suddenly stops moving.
Mr Menscher, whose wife has been the only expectant mother to test the prototype, said: 'There is a practical application, in that mothers are told to monitor a baby in the womb, as low activity can indicate foetal distress.'
Source : Rebecca Camber - Daily Mail