Cry-Translator 789

Wouldn’t it be great to know why they are crying?

Pedro Monagas, an electronics engineer in Castellar del Valles, Spain (a village not far from Barcelona), reasoned that the epic crying spells of his newborn son, Alex, must be a language of their own. He studied Alex’s cries for a year, then spent three years touring nurseries, monitoring another 100 or so other infants, noting differences in the volume and frequency of cries, and the intervals between them. His invention, WhyCry, hit Spanish department and specialty stores, where it sells for 95 euros, in October.

The calculator-size device, which is marketed by the Spanish maternity-products company Rosmari, has a microprocessor that can decipher the broad meaning of a baby’s cry with 87 percent accuracy, claims Monagas (when the parent also consults the ”symptom table” of the baby’s body language, that figure rises to 98 percent, he says). The gadget listens to a crying baby, considers and calculates for 20 seconds or so, then illuminates one of five icons, each corresponding to a distinct physiological or emotional state: ”hungry,” ”sleepy,” ”uncomfortable,” ”stressed” or simply ”bored.”