Amazon Echo Show and Arlo Cameras for Our Baby’s Nursery

My wife and I are excited to receive the Amazon Echo Show that became available for pre-order. I have installed and integrated the Amazon Echo and Amazon Dot throughout the house and this works great in most cases. It’s nice to be able to turn on lights or start some background music while carrying the baby from the living room to the nursery.

Amazon recently announced a new product in the “Alexa” powered line of devices called the “Echo Show”. This internet-connected device has many features including the normal Alexa experience with video. You can ask Alexa to show you recipes, music lyrics, or the output of a camera.

Voice responses from Alexa are now enhanced with visuals and optimized for visibility across the room. Call or message your family and friends that also have an Echo or the Alexa App, get the news with a video flash briefing, see your Prime Photos, shop with your voice, see lyrics with Amazon Music, browse and listen to Audible audiobooks, and more. All you have to do is ask.


Echo Show has eight microphones and beam-forming technology so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo Show is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive audio powered by Dolby. When you want to use Echo Show, just say the wake word “Alexa” and Echo Show responds instantly.

I am interested to see how this will work with our nursery and how to use it for the grandparents. I went ahead and pre-ordered two of these devices in the hopes that I can get them to work with baby monitors and allow my parents to video chat with us. I see that Arlo cameras will work with the Amazon Echo Show at launch and I wonder how many other cameras will be supported after the launch.

50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid

When my friends had babies, I got them a book called, “Experimenting with Babies” by Shaun Gallagher. All of these “experiments” are non-invasive so no need to worry and they are meant to be fun. Now that Little Mister is here, it’s now my turn to perform some science projects with him. Testing his reflexes is super neat and fascinating to observe him as he develops.

Time to get my magnifying glass out and see what I discover about Little Mister using “Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid” .

Babies can be a joy—and hard work. Now, they can also be a 50-in-1 science project kit!


This fascinating and hands-on guide shows you how to re-create landmark scientific studies on cognitive, motor, language, and behavioral development—using your own bundle of joy as the research subject. Simple, engaging, and fun for both baby and parent, each project sheds light on how your baby is acquiring new skills—everything from recognizing faces, voices, and shapes to understanding new words, learning to walk, and even distinguishing between right and wrong.


Whether your little research subject is a newborn, a few months old, or a toddler, these simple, surprising projects will help you see the world through your baby’s eyes—and discover ways to strengthen newly acquired skills during your everyday interactions.


Pittsburgh Touches for Our Nursery

We are from Pittsburgh and we will add a few Pittsburgh touches to our nursery. Since we moved from Pittsburgh, I have had a Pittsburgh Pirates bear on my desk. He has been retired from my office and found his way to our baby’s nursery.

PAPYRUS Outer Space Wooden Music Box

While shopping around for a Valentine’s Day card, I stumbled upon this amazing music box at PAPYRUS!

The PAPYRUS Outer Space Wooden Music Box is a windup music box that plays “Dreaming of Home and Mother” with an orbiting satellite, space shuttle, and a baby astronaut. I fell in love and bought it for our baby to be. Our nursery has a star theme and it fits perfectly with the decor.

Nursery Robot Connected to CheerLights

Introducing CheerLights

CheerLights is an “Internet of Things” project created by Hans Scharler that allows people’s lights all across the world to synchronize to one color set by Twitter. This is a way to connect physical things with social networking experiences.

I wanted to have a CheerLights display for my soon-to-be-here son’s nursery. I didn’t want a bright light, but something in the background. I found a Robot Nightlight on Amazon and purchased it. This is a great night light and you can change the color using the included infrared remote control. To connect this light to CheerLights, all you have to do is build something to transmit the IR code for you. This project uses an Internet-connected Particle Photon that subscribes to the latest CheerLights color on ThingSpeak and transmit the IR code as if the button was pressed on the remote control.

To change the color of the CheerLights Robot, send a tweet that mentions CheerLights and a color name.



Source Code

The code for the Particle Photon is really straightforward. The gist of the code is that the Particle Photon will request the latest CheerLights color from ThingSpeak. If the color matches one of the defined colors, the Photon will transmit the IR code to the robot just like the IR remote. The robot will change color when CheerLights changes color.

View the source code on GitHub.

Hacking the SleepyLights Robot

I recently bought the SleepyLights Robot by Lumenico for my soon-to-be-here son’s nursery. The robot light is a laser cut, acrylic robot that is illuminated with colored LEDs. You control the robot’s color by using an IR remote that is included. You can change the color to any color that you want, but you have to use the IR remote control.

I want to connect the SleepyLights Robot to the CheerLights project. CheerLights is a global network of colored lights that all stay synchronized with each other. When one light changes to blue, all of the lights turn to blue. Right now, there are over 20,000 lights that have been linked together.

In order to connect my SleepyLights Robot light to CheerLights, I am going to transmit IR codes using a IR LED connected to a Particle Photon. The Photon is a Wi-Fi connected device that you can program to all kinds of things. In this case, I will program the Photon to send the color codes that CheerLights is set to.

Stay tuned for project updates and source code…

Teddy Bear Sends Notifications to Dad

Andy travels a lot for his job and he often wonders if his child thinks of “dear old dad.” Andy created a Do-It-Yourself hack modifying a teddy bear to send notifications. When his daughter plays with the bear, it sends him a notification to his phone. Andy hacked an Amazon Dash Button – the very same buttons that I mentioned before for automatically ordering baby formula.

The buttons connect to your Wi-Fi network and send a message when they are pressed. He catches the message using a Raspberry Pi and then creates a notification for his mobile phone.

Maybe as a next step, Andy could add some haptic feedback to the teddy bear so that the bear tells his daughter that he got the notification. This would close the communication loop.

Learn how to build your own Wi-Fi connected Teddy Bear at Andy’s Projects.

Twilight Turtle Nightlight and Star Projector

I recently posted about trying to find a star projector that looked realistic. A friend of mine on Facebook recommended the Twilight Turtle from cloud-b. The Twilight Turtle doubles as a plush toy and a nightlight. The plush turtle can be moved around since it is battery-powered. The turtle comes in multiple colors and features a 45 minute sleep timer. cloud-b says that the Twilight Turtle, “transforms nurseries and bedrooms into a starry sanctuary that comforts and calms children.”

Twilight Turtle Nightlight

Thanks for the recommendation!

Has Anyone Tried a Star Projector in the Baby Nursery?

I love stars. I want to share that love in our upcoming baby’s nursery. Has anyone tried a star projector? Do they actually turn your walls and ceiling into a night sky? I am looking at buying the Essential Choice – Constellation Projector and Baby Night Light… They said it is “new and improved” and that makes me wonder what the differences might be. I would like the stars to look somewhat realistic and be in constellation patterns.

Nursery Star Projector

There are many nursery star projectors to select from at and not sure which one is the clear winner. I would pay more to have it look like real stars. Let me know what you think?

Use the Amazon Dash Button to Order Similac Formula

Have you ever forgotten to order formula and had to run out to the store at the last-minute? If so, this is a quick upgrade to your nursery. All you need to do is add an Amazon Dash Button to your nursery. You press the button when you notice that you are running low on formula. The formula of your choice gets ordered from Amazon and delivered within two days.

The Amazon Dash Button is a Wi-Fi connected device that reorders your favorite product with the press of a button. Each Dash Button is paired with a product of your choice, which is selected through the Amazon App on your Android or iOS smartphone during the set-up process.

There are other Amazon Dash Buttons available and even one that you can hack yourself if you know some “internet of things“.