Samsung revealed a new app on Saturday that can help parents communicate with premature babies kept in incubators. “Voices of Life” can record a mother’s heartbeat or voice, then alters the sound to make it more suitable for playing to a premature baby’s ears.
The app uses the smartphone’s heart rate sensor to record the mother’s heartbeat, or it can use the phone’s microphone to record sounds, stories, and lullabies, with the option of collecting recordings together in playlists. “Voices of Life” then removes certain higher frequencies that babies would not hear while in the womb.
The recordings are then sent wirelessly to a speaker kept inside the incubator. Samsung’s video shows a special “Voices of Life” speaker in the incubator, but it is not clear if any speaker can be used or if the speaker is part of the sound-altering process.
The company points to research that shows hearing a mother’s voice can help a premature baby’s brain grow and develop. Babies begin to hear sounds at around 24 weeks inside the womb, but premature babies may miss out on some of the vital benefits of hearing maternal sounds at later stages of the pregnancy.
Samsung isn’t the first company to develop an app to help parents of premature babies. The Premature Baby Journal helps keep track of a baby’s medical progress in a straightforward log book, while the MyPreemie app provides a simple pocket guide for some of the biggest questions expectant mothers might have.
“Voices of Life” does not currently have a public release date.