Engineering the perfect pacifier for your baby – by The Baba Mohandes (the daddy engineer)

Cyrus with the Pacif-i app at work

This blog post comes from H, my husband. Engineer by day and The Baba Mohandes or Daddy Engineer by night and at weekends. He loves nothing better than reviewing #babytech #babysafety gadgets. Enjoy!

When I was little, I’d always be taking gadgets apart because I was fascinated with how they worked. I started with my own baba’s automatic pocket watch at three years old and before long I’d upscaled to his radio alarm clock when I was five. The problem was that back then, I didn’t know how to put things I was taking apart back together!

I knew I wanted to be an engineer from an early age after visiting the airport with my father and seeing the sheer scale of the Boeing 747s being repaired in the aircraft hangar. It was years later however when I finally got to follow my dream.

While I’m not designing aeroplanes like I imagined or driving the latest red Ferrari for that matter, I work for a global oil & gas company helping them make their products better and safer for customers across the globe.  My wife also has a busy PR career so now I have discovered my identity as a family man too.

Together we have a nine-month-old son called Cyrus who I enjoy spending time with every day. All this means that I have come full circle. I’m back to playing with the gadgets I loved as a child, perhaps my true calling.

My guest blog posts here are really an excuse for me to “play” with some of the fantastic tech for tots there is, while doing things with and for Cyrus.

The Baba Mohandes reviews the Pacif-i

If you’ve ever tried to take your baby’s temperature, you’ll know how challenging it can be to get a reading you can actually rely on as a baba (daddy). Especially since the goal of taking a temperature is to assess how warm it is INSIDE of the body and temperature changes can happen gradually or very suddenly.

The idea of taking a rectal temperature reading from Cyrus was more than a little daunting for me so thankfully I never had to. I’m a die-hard mohandes, not a doctor and work at the interface of mechanical engineering not medicine.

So I was glad when our doctor recommended taking C’s temperature by placing a digital thermometer in his armpit. Phew!

This didn’t come without its engineering problems though as I struggled to get a temperature with him writhing and wriggling about all over the place. It was a tedious task and I needed a robust, reliable measurement.

I started to explore whether maman (mummy) and I might be able to do a little better than our digital thermometer by scouring the internet for answers.

That’s when I discovered the Pacif-i, a Bluetooth Low Energy pacificer for iOS and Android. It’s a device that is designed to continuously monitor a baby’s temperature and promises to overcome the problems of squirming toddler syndrome and constant thermometer probes.

Clearly this real-world application is only going to work if your tot loves his/her soother or  ‘pestoonak’ (in Persian) as much as C does when he’s grumpy or tired, as they have to keep it in their mouth for up to five minutes for it to work.

But let’s be clear. No one likes to disturb a sleeping baby in the middle of the night and the Pacif-i is unlike a lot of digital thermometers in that it will continuously monitor C’s temperature for four hours without the need to break his sleep pattern. That’s about as close as we’ve got to having a full night’s sleep since he was born.

Here’s the clever bit. The temperature is communicated to a smart phone/iPad and you can also set alerts, so using our iPad we now have an accurate time-stamped record of Cyrus’s temperature at our fingertips.

It’s going to prove an invaluable tool when it comes to tracking the effects of his  upcoming MMR vaccinations when looking out for any rising temperature will be crucial.

The Pacif-i takes a modification to the humble thermometer even further too. It acts as a proximity monitor which let’s us track it when C drops it and it ends up under the sofa or his cot.

If the pacifier moves out of the 30-meter range, the app will make a note of the last known location using our phone’s GPS, pointing us in the direction of the lost pacifier. So if we do misplace it, like most of his other soothers, we can trigger an alarm to help track it down.

The Pacif-i is easy to use and easy to read. The thermometer is built into its silicone teat and a Bluetooth chip sends temperature readings to a paired smartphone/iPad. From the app for Android and iOS, we can view a live reading and see previous ones in a timeline graph, allowing us to track improvement or decline in C’s condition.

The data can also be easily shared with our doctor or the hospital if needed. We can also set dosing reminders from within the app, too.

It is hermetically sealed which means it’s easy to wash when it ends up under the sofa, although that does mean we can’t replace its battery. Still it should last 12-18 months before it runs out of juice (based on a one-reading-per-day estimate).

Of course, since I’m in the job of constantly engineering new ideas, I’m sure those behind this device will come up with a solution to this soon.

While oral temperature readings aren’t deemed as accurate as others, we couldn’t find much of a difference in terms of fluctuation in temperature with our digital control model. Blue Maestro, the makers of Pacif-i have even included a calibration tool too.

Set up is easy. Download the Pacif-i app to your smartphone or tablet, then press the middle of the Pacif-i and connect to your Bluetooth. Then you’re ready to go. At least that’s the theory.

In reality, it took Saffi quite some time before she became friends with the Pacif-i. It took The Baba Mohandes to come to the rescue and actually get the Bluetooth connection going.

At around £33, the Pacif-i is not the cheapest option, but it’s definitely a more soothing experience for Cyrus than some of the other more uncomfortable methods on the market. Once we’d got to grips with the quirks of the app and coaxed it to work with us, it’s fair to say that it has provided the perfect comfort blanket so far.

The Pacif-i offers us an ideal opportunity to keep a watchful eye on C’s temperature whenever we are worried. With its shield, it can also be tucked away discreetly in C’s changing bag too when we’re out and about.

In my opinion, the Pacif-i is an amazing concept and engineering innovation that shows just how far we’ve come since the days of old glass mercury thermometers.

If you’d like The Baba Mohandes to review your latest baby innovation, tech or gadget, then drop us an email at saffronandcyrus@gmail.com

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