Babies can seem like strange, alien creatures. One minute they’re contently gurgling, and the next minute their tiny, wrinkly faces start contorting, and they’re making strange, unintelligible wailing noises. It’s enough to make any reasonable person want to tear their hair out. But new parents and caretakers can relax, because finally science has figured out how to translate what your baby’s cries actually mean.
Thanks to Taiwanese researchers, we now have the Infant Cries Translator, a new app created at the National Taiwan University Hospital Yunlin. Researchers Chang Chuan-yu and Dr. Chen Si-da led a team that recorded 200,000 crying sounds from around 100 newborn babies and then uploaded them to an online database. After analyzing and categorizing the different types of crying sounds babies make, science can now tell you what your baby’s cries mean in just 15 seconds. All you have to do is record your baby’s cries for 10 seconds and upload them on the app.
What in the world is that baby saying?
The new app promises to help even the most clueless of new parents become expert baby whisperers. For those with newborns under 2 weeks, the new app seems to eliminate much of the guesswork of parenting, as the researchers now claim to be able to pinpoint four distinct types of cries.
“The Infant Cries Translator can differentiate four different statuses of sounds of baby crying, including hunger, the diaper getting wet, sleepy and pain,” exlained Chuan-yu to Reuters. “So far, according to the feedback from users, the accuracy of the app we’ve tested can reach 92 per cent for babies under 2 weeks old.”
The app still works for older babies under 6 months, but the translation becomes a little less accurate as the infant brain develops: “As for the babies under 1 or 2 months, the accuracy of the app can also reach up to 84 or 85 per cent. Even for the 4-month-old baby, the accuracy can reach 77 per cent.”
The app also allows parents to create unique profiles for their infants and to play a role in determining what their cries mean. “Once the baby cries, we only need to press the recording button for 10 seconds, and the sound will be uploaded to the Cloud Drive,” explains Chang. “After the differentiating process, the analysis result of the sound would be transferred to Mum’s mobile phone. So Mum can depend on the actual situation to determine whether the analysis result is correct or not to make a revision for the app.”
Perfect for first-time parents
New dad Guo Young-ming told Reuters that he began using the app days after his daughter was born, and it’s made the parenting process simpler. “For the new parent like us, we are most afraid of seeing the baby crying and then not knowing what we should do. When we don’t know what we should do, this app can make some simple judgments for us so we are able to know what our next step is,” he explained.
Now if only they’d make an app to decode the mood swings of your boss or passive-aggressive notes from your roommate.