Interactive maternity clothing – Kickbee

Kickbee_nteractive_Maternity_belt.jpgExpectant father Corey Menscher attracted quite some interest with his recently project called Kickbee to connect to his unborn baby during the pregnancy of his wife.

The Kickbee is a wearable device made of a stretchable band and embedded electronics and sensors. Piezo sensors are attached directly to the band, and transmit small but detectable voltages when triggered by movement underneath.

Based on the Arduino Mini micro-controller the piezo sensor signals are transmit to a Java application wireless via Bluetooth to a computer.

The Java application receives the sensor values and analyzes them when the unborn baby kicks and a Twitter message is posted via the Twitter API on the computer. Corey chose Twitter because it is easy to initiate and send an SMS message to any mobile phone and internet.

Beside being a sweet idea to be more involved during the pregnancy of his wife, Kickbee demonstrates how sensible the combination of a bit of technology, social networking tools (Twitter) and a good portion of creativity add up to a unique wearable interaction medium.

The same or a similar concept as Kickbee presents could be applied to record biometric functions for monitoring in health, fitness or sport applications as well.

The use of solid state technology like piezo sensors provides a durable, low cost, low power consuming component perfectly suitable for clothing integration. The link to an existing communication infrastructure like Twitter shows a relatively simple way to link off-line activities recorded via clothing to online communities.

I do not want to downplay the Kickbee concept, it’s fabulous for what it was intended to do but I see it also as an highly inspirational material to think about sharing activities recorded ‘as-you-go’ via clothing with friends and groups around the (virtual) world.


  1. Maybe this idea could be modified to other articles of clothing, like shoes. Many times I go for long hiking treks and my feet get tired. If a mild buzzer could be hooked up to my footwear and give a little jolt to my trail sandals, then I could finish my walk with a little more energy.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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