You hear it on the news way too often: A parent left his or her toddler locked in the car with the windows up on a broiling hot day, just so the parent can run into a bar or casino or supermarket.
According to Starfish founder and inventor Matthew Sheets, an average of 40 American children die each year from hyperthermia in a car. “To me, that was something I could not stand by and watch,” he says.
What if there were an app that reminded them that they are a terrible parent and they better fix the situation immediately?
That’s where Sheets’ ingenious new sensor/app combo, Starfish, comes in. It’s a “weight-activated child car seat smart sensor” that’s currently running a campaign on Kickstarter with a hoped-for December release. The Starfish sensor fits snugly in the child’s car seat and, when it senses that a child is present, it automatically pairs with the parent’s Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth. And then it can notify a parent when he or she thoughtlessly leaves the kid in the car.
When the parent and his or her smartphone leave a “geo-fenced” area of around 20 feet, Starfish automatically notifies the parent that the child may be in danger. Starfish can even notify emergency contacts if the parent hasn’t responded to the notification after five minutes.
This app has the capability of preventing more senseless tragedies from occurring. Which is one of the best uses of technology I’ve heard this year.