Honda’s app-controlled ‘Sound Sitter’ uses engine noise to calm down kids

Parents usually develop a myriad of ways to calm their crying baby, some more effective than others.

With the same aim in mind, Honda’s R&D team recently took time out to create the Sound Sitter, a cuddly toy car with a speaker inside that emits the sound of one of its car engines.

Researchers at the automaker claim that the sound waves a baby hears inside the womb aren’t so different from those created by the roaring noises of a car engine. Really.

To give the Sound Sitter the best possible chance of encouraging a screaming baby to calm down and nod off, the Japanese company tested the sound of no less than 37 engines manufactured for various Honda models over the last 50-plus years.

Testing the engine sounds with 12 infants aged between six months and 1.5 years, the most effective one visibly calmed 11 of the babies in a short space of time, with 7 of them showing reduced heart rates.

The engine powers the Acura NSX, Honda’s $156,000 supercar. Being a supercar, you might think the roar of its motor would startle a baby awake rather than lull it to sleep, but Honda’s research concluded otherwise. Interestingly, Digital Trends’ 2017 review of the Acura NSX describes the vehicle’s engine note as “tame for a supercar.”

Having determined the ideal engine noise for the Sound Sitter, Honda set about designing the cute exterior of the soft toy (it looks like a car and, of course, features a Honda badge), and placed a small speaker inside for the all-important audio track.

A video (above) shows a crying baby calmed by the sight of the toy, and positively delighted by its noise, with Dad controlling the volume of the sound with a smartphone app.

hondas app controlled sound sitter uses engine noise to calm kids

Now, if you’re a desperate parent who’s run out of ideas for ways to send your littl’un to sleep and believe the Sound Sitter may be the answer, we’re sorry to say that it’s going to be difficult to come by.

Honda currently has no plan to market the toy, though it does have a recording of the the NSX on its website that you can try. It’s certainly a cheaper option than buying the car.

Honda isn’t the first car company to recognize how car noises can help send babies off to sleep. Ford, for example, is considering commercializing the brilliant Max Motor Dreams, a crib that simulates the gentle hum and vibrations of a moving car.

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