Topic: About Technology - ’Smart crib’ aims to help rockabye baby
As every new parent knows, sleep can go out the window after the arrival of a newborn.
That was certainly the case for parents Radhika and Bharath Patil, who seeking relief for their own disrupted sleep patterns, put their electronic engineering backgrounds together to create a "smart crib".
Their crib, powered by artificial intelligence, combines a baby monitor, rocker, bassinet and crib in one.
"It’s not the amount of work around the baby that tires the parents, it’s the lack of sleep," Radhika Patil, Cradlewise chief executive, told Reuters in an interview.
Early detection is key, she said, adding that the sooner parents can detect the baby waking up, the easier it is to get the child to fall back asleep.
"Once you put the baby in, the crib takes care of everything. That’s the aim," Bharath Patil said.
Topic: New Thoughts on Math Of Effective Baby Talk
It has been nearly 20 years since a landmark education study found that, by age 3, children from low-income families have heard 30 million fewer words than more affluent children, putting them at an educational disadvantage before they have begun school.
Now, a growing body of research is challenging the notion that merely exposing poor children to more language is enough to overcome the deficits they face. The quality of the communication between children and their parents and caregivers, the researchers say, is of much greater importance than the number of words a child hears.
A study presented last month at a White House conference on “bridging the word gap” found that among 2-year-olds from low-income families, quality interactions involving words — the use of shared symbols (“Look, a dog!”); rituals (“Want a bottle after your bath?”); and conversational fluency (“Yes, that is a bus!”) — were a far better predictor of language skills at age 3 than any other factor .
“It’s not just about shoving words in,” said Kathryn Hirsh- Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia and lead author of the study. “It’s about having these fluid conversations around shared rituals and objects, like pretending to have morning coffee together or using the banana as a phone. ”
In a related finding, published in April, researchers who observed 11- and 14-month-old children in their homes found that the prevalence of one-on-one interactions and frequent use of parentese — the slow, highpitched voice commonly used for talking to babies — were reliable predictors of language ability at age 2. The total number of words had no correlation with future ability.
Even the 1995 study that introduced the notion of the 30-million- word gap, conducted by the University of Kansas psychologists Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley, found that parental tone, responsiveness and use of symbols affected a child’s I.Q. and vocabulary.
But this year’s studies are the first time researchers have compared the impact of word quantity with quality of communication.
For the new study, Dr. Hirsh- Pasek and colleagues selected 60 low-income 3-year-olds with varying degrees of language proficiency from a long-term study of 1,300 children from birth to age 15.
The quality of communication accounted for 27 percent of variation in expressive language skills one year later, Dr. Hirsh-Pasek said.
But those who urge parents to talk to their children more say increased quantity of language inevitably leads to better quality.
Anne Fernald, a developmental psychologist at Stanford University in California, said, “When you learn to talk more, you tend to speak in more diverse ways and elaborate more, and that helps the child’s cognitive development.”
Still, Ann O’Leary, director of Too Small to Fail, a joint effort of the nonprofit Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation that focuses on closing the word gap, acknowledged that messages to parents could do more to emphasize quality.
“When we’re doing these campaigns to close the word gap, they do capture the imagination, they do get people understanding that we do need to do a lot more talking,” she said. “But we also need to be more mindful that part of what we need to do is model what that talking looks like.”
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/269227/web/#2L-5280944L
Topic: Scientists identify ancient baby bottles ...and some are really cute
Ceramic vessels, sometimes fashioned in whimsical animal forms, were used thousands of years ago as baby bottles to feed infants animal milk, according to scientists, offering an intriguing look at how and what infants were fed in prehistoric times.
Archaeologists said on Sept. 25 they confirmed the function of these ceramic objects by finding chemical traces of milk belonging to animals such as cows, sheep and goats in three such items found buried in child graves in Germany.
The oldest of the three vessels described in the study was made between 2,800 and 3,200 years ago during the Bronze Age. Other similar objects dating back as far as about 7,000 years ago during Neolithic times have been found in various other locations, the researchers said.
“I think this has provided us the first direct evidence of what foods babies were eating or being weaned on in prehistory,” said biomolecular archaeologist Julie Dunne of the University of Bristol in the UK and lead author of the study, published in the journal Nature. “I think this shows us the love and care these prehistoric people had for their babies.”
These objects, little enough to fit into a baby’s hands, served as vessels for milk, with a narrow spout for the baby to suckle liquid. While the three objects examined for the study were somewhat plain, others boasted lively shapes including animal heads with long ears or horns and human-looking feet.
“I find them incredibly cute. And prehistoric people may have thought so, too — they would certainly have a dual function of entertaining the children just like modern stuffed animals,” said archaeologist Katharina Rebay-Salisbury of the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Oriental and European Archaeology, and a co-author of the study. “They testify to the creativity and playfulness we often forget to attribute to our ancestors,” Rebay-Salisbury added.
Life at the time was not easy, Rebay-Salisbury added, with many people living in unhygienic conditions, experiencing famine and disease and facing low life expectancy. During the Bronze Age and subsequent Iron Age in Europe, perhaps about a third of all newborns died before their first birthday and only about half of children reached adulthood, Rebay-Salisbury said.
These feeding vessels may have made life easier for mothers, as animal milk could substitute for breastfeeding, the researchers said. “Duties of mothering — amongst which feeding is an important one — can also be undertaken by other members of the community when children are fed with feeding vessels,” Rebay-Salisbury said.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2019/10/06/2003723440