Baby monitors of the future could translate infant cries, so that parents will know for certain whether their child is sleepy, hungry, needing a change or in pain. Japanese researchers have published a paper detailing their design for a statistical computer program that can analyze a baby's crying in the International Journal of Biometrics.
Studies done over the years have found that the pitch and frequency of a baby's cry can indicate a health problem. For example, a noisy, broken sounding cry can signal Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) . A low cry with short utterances can suggest respiratory problems, increased tension or instability of neural control.
This is amazing, life saving technology. But I wonder if it will change they way we parent. I hope we don't lose the importance of also incorporating body language and non verbal cues of communication. But on the other hand, it could be a win-win, as Julien from Halfbakery says, if the translation of an infant's cry informs us that "Rock-a-bye baby sounds better in the key of C or that peas and carrots are not a winning combination".
Wang, X., Nagashima, T., Fukuta, K., Okada, Y., Sawai, M., Tanaka, H., & Uozumi, T. (2010). Statistical method for classifying cries of baby based on pattern recognition of power spectrum International Journal of Biometrics, 2 (2) DOI: 10.1504/IJBM.2010.031791