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 6 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 winning 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 has run out of ideas for ways to send your little one 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 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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

If Batman became a race car driver, he’d hit the track in the Vuhl 05RR

Mexican sports car Vuhl revealed the hardcore 05RR, a roadster that blurs the line between a track car and a street-legal car. The 05RR stands out with a design that looks right out of a video game and a 385-horsepower engine.
Cars

Volkswagen is planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car will head to the Nürburgring for a lap-record attempt. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car with the I.D. R.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Home Theater

Block the outside world, tune into your own with the best in-ear headphones

Over-the-ear headphones offer top-flight sound, but they're not so easy to take along with you. If you're looking to upgrade your portable sound, check out our favorite in-ear headphones -- there's a model for every user and every budget.
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Home Theater

Report: Spotify preparing to launch $100 in-car streaming device

According to a report, people familiar with Spotify's plans say the company is readying a dedicated in-car music streamer that will cost $100. It will work with any Bluetooth-enabled audio system and can be controlled by voice.
Cars

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.
Cars

Royal fans bid big money as Prince Philip ‘car crash parts’ hit eBay

A couple of days after a car crash that involved the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, debris apparently from the scene of the accident showed up on eBay. And people wanted to buy it.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk offers to help dig CERN’s new particle collider tunnel

CERN plans to put the Large Hadron Collider to shame with its proposed much larger Future Circular Collider -- and Elon Musk wants to help. Because, you know, he's not busy enough.
Product Review

The new Ram 1500 blends capability and convenience better than the rest

The Ram isn’t the most powerful, spacious, or affordable of the light-duty, full-size pickup herd, but a modestly equipped version walks all over rivals in terms of ride quality, technology, and cabin comfort.
Cars

Hyundai has created the ‘world’s first multi-collision airbag system’

Around 30 percent of car accidents involve multiple collisions, a reality that prompted Hyundai to develop what it claims is the world's first airbag capable of deploying in a multi-impact traffic accident.