BabyGaga recently had the pleasure of interviewing Joanna Lin, who is the co-founder of Cubo AI, a smart baby monitor that offers new parents something that many consider priceless and unattainable- peace of mind and reassurance that their baby is safe and sound in their crib even when mom and dad aren't right there watching over them.
Sound too good to be true? Read on and find out why Cubo AI is shaping up to be the baby monitor to end all baby monitors! Could it be that this little "robot birdie" really looks after your baby and has his or her best interests at heart?
Please enjoy this exclusive interview!
BabyGaga (BG): As the co-founder of the company, Joanna, we heard that you had a personal scary incident involving your own baby that inspired the creation of Cubo AI. Can you tell us more about the inspiration, if you don’t mind?
Joanna Lin (JL): Cubo AI started when I first met my little miracle after 6 IVF trials. When I found his face accidentally covered by a burp cloth, I couldn’t sleep for months!
I was waking myself up every 2 hours, worried that something might have happened to him. Even 6 of the most advanced baby monitors couldn’t ease my fears. Over time, these sleepless nights and constant fear led me to become someone I didn’t recognize, which, turns out, was actually postpartum depression.
Never wanting other parents to experience this same fear as I did, we gathered experts with over 10 years of experience in pediatrics and AI, as well as other parents in tech, to create Cubo AI’s proprietary technology to send out AI-powered proactive alerts (such as Covered Face, Danger Zone, and Cry Detection Alerts). As a mom, it was important to me that our baby monitor helps parents find peace of mind with our early warning alerts system, so they don’t have to worry like me!
BG: You worked with your husband, Sam Shan, together on the product design for Cubo AI. What was it like working together as a couple on something that has such a personal backstory for you two?
JL: Cubo AI definitely began from a very personal backstory of finding our little one’s face accidentally covered, but we also knew this story is similar to many new parents out there. In all honesty, when we decided to quit our jobs and start Cubo AI together we had our doubts. So Sam, who had worked in market research, compiled a survey and sent it to around one thousand new parents to see if they were as worried as we were.
When we saw that over 60 percent of new parents were worried about covered face events and most of them were not satisfied with their baby monitor choices, we knew that we were onto something! When designing Cubo, we always thought about other worried parents out there and made sure to apply both my perspective as a mom and Sam’s perspective as a dad to each experience.
For example, we designed the AI-powered Automatic Photo Capture feature because we hated missing our baby’s adorable moments when going to work! After rolling this out, we’ve heard from many of our pilot users that they were surprised by how much they liked the feature and the adorable images shared throughout the day! Listening to fellow parents’ stories and applying our own is how we make sure that each Cubo is packed with features that both moms and dads will find useful.
BG: Joanna, what was your previous, if any, involvement with AI?
JL : While I’ve been involved as a marketer in e-commerce for over 10 years, I first became involved with AI when working at my previous company - a dog camera start-up that uses AI to distinguish dog barks, take dog selfies, and even tosses treats right from the app! So when we realized that there wasn’t a baby monitor out there that warns parents of potential covered face events, we knew that leveraging AI in our product would be beneficial for parents everywhere!
BG: Can you briefly explain how AI is used to enhance baby monitors for our readers who may not be too familiar with AI a.k.a. artificial intelligence?
JL : Unlike other baby monitors, Cubo was developed specifically to help parents identify potentially dangerous events such as Covered Face situations or Danger Zone entries. Using AI, Cubo can detect if your baby’s face is covered by an object, or if they’ve gotten stuck and can’t roll back, and can even tell the difference between a human and pet when entering the Danger Zone.
We also use AI to detect if your baby is smiling or making big moves like stretching adorably or sitting up so Cubo can snap a cute photo and save it to your Memory Wall on the Cubo App. All of this so parents can get real-time alerts to bring some peace of mind and joy in their parenting journey!
BG: How did you come up with the name “Cubo AI” for your smart baby monitor?
JL: Cubo stems from the combination of a baby cub and robot! When thinking about how to name our product, we wanted something inspired by nature, while showcasing our smart AI capabilities. We chose cub and robot because we all know about mama bear’s fierce protection of their little cub, so we found it fitting that our smart baby monitor would help mama bears everywhere protect their little cub… while using some of our smart capabilities, therefore - Cubo AI!
BG: We hear that there are 5 major features that makes CUBO AI so amazing: the covered face/rollover alert, the cry detection alert, the danger zone alert, the night vision image sensor by Sony and the automatic photo capture. Can you tell us more about these and why these are all so important to keep babies safe and secure?
JL: Covered Face / Rollover Alert: One of our most important features - rather than only alerting you when/if your baby’s breath is impacted - this feature is designed to alert parents if their child’s face may be covered or if they’ve gotten stuck and can’t roll back.
Cry Detection Alert: Parents will be alerted when their baby cries whether in the middle of the night or during a nap - even if they are a room or two away! For those middle of the night cries, parents can even soothe their baby back to sleep with 2-way audio!
Danger Zone Alert: We wanted to create a monitor that didn’t just protect your baby, but toddler as well. While we can baby proof our homes, our children are always on the move. Our geofencing feature allows parents to create danger zones (i.e. kitchen, stairs) to be alerted when entering somewhere children shouldn't be.
Sony Night Vision Image Sensor: We’ve all experienced grainy video quality, especially when it comes to night vision. We offer a high-quality video stream so parents don’t have to squint or assume what your baby is up too.
Automatic Photo Capture: We wanted to add a feature that allowed parents to capture your babies adorable moments when they aren’t around. Overtime, Cubo AI learns the photos parents enjoy the most, customizing the photo’s being captured.
BG: Cubo AI’s design is actually downright adorable and looks nothing at all like an intimidating security camera. Can you tell us how the cute creature design came to be?
JL: Here at Cubo AI we like to say that parents know best because we’re a user-centric company! Our cute bird design stemmed from surveying over one thousand parents, where we learned they didn’t want their baby to be staring into a security camera 24/7.
That’s why we designed Cubo AI to look nothing like any of the cameras on the market! When interviewing parents, a number of them also mentioned the bird design reminded them of a stork and we loved how fitting that was for a gadget protecting your baby!
BG: As a mother, what are some of your personal favourite features about Cubo AI?
JL: As a mom, my favourites are the Covered Face Alert and Automatic Photo Capture feature! While the Covered Face alert brings me peace of mind, especially during the first 6 months where he can’t roll over by himself, the Auto-Photo Capture is really great for those photo surprises mid-day when I’m working. Cubo sends me something cute he’s done or even records his first sit-ups or head lifts!
BG: Cubo AI is currently featured on Indiegogo. When will the campaign end?
JL: The campaign will run till August 8, with plans to launch on Amazon later this year!
BG: What sort of feedback have you received from parents so far?
JL: We’ve received a lot of positive feedback so far with over 93% of our 6000 pilot users reporting better peace of mind after Cubo AI! The Auto-Photo Capture feature has proven to be a favorite among parents! We’re super grateful for all the parents who’ve taken a chance on us and we constantly look for their feedback on how to improve the experience. Some of the updates we’re looking to integrate include smart integrations, new features and maybe even smart speakers - stay tuned!
BG: Joanna, thank you so much for the interview! We really appreciate you taking the time to inform our readers about your new product.
Readers, if your interest has been piqued, be sure to check out Cubo AI on Indiegogo! What do you think of incorporating AI into baby monitors? Please be sure to drop your thoughts in the comments!