Can IPhone App Interpret A Baby's Cry?

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You don't need an iPhone app to tell you that Melissa Gray's son, Thomas, isn't crying. Melissa Gray/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Melissa Gray/NPR
Thomas Gray

You don't need an iPhone app to tell you that Melissa Gray's son, Thomas, isn't crying.

Melissa Gray/NPR

To many of us, the sound of a baby crying can be loud and mystifying. But for that baby's parents, the cry also means "I'm hungry," or "I'm sleepy," or "Please, get out of bed and change my diaper." Now, the makers of a new iPhone application called Cry Translator, which sells for $9.99, say that it too can interpret subtle differences in a baby's cries.

New mom Melissa Gray, a producer at All Things Considered, tested the app on her son, Thomas. She placed a microphone with him and watched from down the hall.

When he cried, the app said Thomas was hungry. But Gray tells NPR's Melissa Block that her baby was saying, "Where are you? I'm lonely. Get in here now."

The app also offers several suggestions to sate the baby's hunger: Offer the infant a bottle, or try breast-feeding. It also said that a parent can offer age-appropriate baby food if recommended by a pediatrician or a family doctor.

"I wouldn't have known," Gray quips.

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