Robert Cringely’s personal narrative about losing his child is heartbreaking, having realized his son Chase was dead on his lap while he wrote email. The cause of death was determined to be SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), a disorder that is little understood, or even studied for that matter, due to a lack of medical data. Cringely’s article is in large part a call to arms for developing systems for collecting data and analyzing it: “a $10 device that can be strapped or stuck or otherwise attached to, 100,000 little babies, measuring and recording respiration, heartbeat, body temperature, and anything else we can think of.”
It just so happens that my office mate, Vadim Gerasimov (famous for developing tetris) is actually working on this problem right now. Although the cost is still out of the $10 range, one of his Hoarder boards can collect months worth of biometric data (EKG, breathing, skin conductivity, etc.) onto a compact flash card. I just hope that some of this research will find its way into the real world, like Cringely suggests.