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Design Concepts: The Future of Birth for the Babies in Your Future

The Web is teeming with the unrealized ideas of both students and established designers who set out to produce astonishing renderings and prototypes for unusual products. Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, money or technology, many of those products never progress from the planning stages to the mass market. But that doesn't mean we can't salivate over them, nevertheless.

Congratulations are in order! One of our own Switched team members was recently blessed with a little bundle of joy, and, thinking critically what the future might mean for this lately begotten human, we want to explore concepts that relate to the process of being born and raised in an increasingly digital world. When does baby get his first iPod? Will he ever know a life without 3-D TV? These are questions perhaps too frightening and too broad to answer now, but we did take some time to find some amazing designs that will help parents raise their tykes in the coming era.

Baby Cot Pod by Shaun Milburn and PER Design

We know that most new parents don't have the time to get hung up on aesthetics; they want easy-to-assemble, inexpensive and safe products for their new prize. But take a look at the Baby Cot Pod, and try to tell us that this little spacecraft isn't the sickest cradle you've ever seen. The egg-shaped pod comes with handles on either side for easy transport, as well as an optional hood and folding frame. The inside is, of course, fully lined with what looks like some rather luxurious microfiber to keep your baby's sensitive skin soft and supple. In the end, the Baby Cot Pod isn't too different from standard bassinets, save its more streamlined design, but its retro-futuristic appeal will let everyone know that your baby is a future king of the universe.

Flip Bath by Evan Gant

Babies, like kittens and orchids, are extremely sensitive to temperature. New parents know that they can't just toss their baby, bunting and all, into a fresh tub of water without a rigorous once-over, lest your child suffer from burns or thermal shock. The Flip Bath by Evan Gant not only measures the temperature for optimal baby bathing, but also lets you know exactly how high to fill the basin. A thermally sensitive series of graduated rings around the inside of this mini-tub alert you to the proper temperature. Based on your baby's weight, the rings let you know how much warm water to add. Once that rapidly maturing baby gets over four months, you simply flip the Flip Bath for added bathing area. Genius!

Baby Measuring Crib Fitted Sheet by Clare Chen

Baby Measuring Crib Fitted Sheet by designer Clare Chen does think outside of the box. Instead of trying to hold down your squirming bambino while you apply a tape measure, this no-fuss blanket incorporates -- right into the fabric -- a bull's-eye-ish system that'll let you know your baby's growth rate every time you put him down. In addition to the measuring rings, the blanket is printed with mini feet to help you determine your baby's shoe size.

Sikker by Jessica Mendoza & Henoc Monte

Baby monitors are all well and good, but if you're not right next to the receiver, you could be missing your infant's umpteenth plaintive cry. Sikker is a concept that incorporates a digital cuff for parents and a wee one for babes, so that the family can stay in constant communication. A microphone and speaker on each bracelet will respectively transmit your baby's cries and your gentle coos (assuming that you're busy making some delicious mashed carrots with your Beaba Babycook), and will even play lullaby music to quell her keening. Sikker will also monitor your baby's temperature and heart rate (both vital pieces of data for worrywort moms and dads), and transmit the info back to your bracelet along with a history of her biometric data.

Tokyo Baby Café by Nendo

Awesome Japanese design firm Nendo has recently launched its Tokyo Baby Café in Aoyama, and what a beauty it is. In an effort to let parents regain some of their baby-imprisoned social lives, the Café is a meeting place for adults and their little ones to interact and play. With light switches and door handles high out of children's reach, and wide hallways for the stroller set, the Café may just be a home-bound parent's dream. The designers played with scale in crafting the sofas, tables and chairs to provide spaces for parents and babies. The large nursing sofa doubles as a playroom, while shelves of toys will keep the older kiddies occupied. The clean minimalism screams Japanese design -- but we think that's something the future generation should grow up knowing, anyway.

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