Bellabeat Shell can hear your unborn baby's heartbeat

The redesigned connected health accessory works with a free app
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Fresh from being nominated at the inaugural Wareable Tech Awards for its Leaf collection of trackers, Bellabeat has announced Shell, a redesign of its connected self pregnancy gadget and a standalone app.

Both the iPhone accessory (no word on Android) and the app can be used as a non-invasive prenatal monitor that listens to your unborn baby's heartbeat when pressed onto the mother's belly. The app and device capture the sounds inside the womb and then, using an algorithm, Bellabeat is able to get rid of any noise and amplify the baby's heartbeat.

Living with: Bellabeat Shell review

For those concerned about safety, no waves are sent into the mother's body by the device, it is purely focused on capturing sound. It's also billed more as a bonding gadget as is strictly not supposed to be used as a medical device.

The free Shell app - which can be used without the amplifying sea shell-like device - is now live on the App Store and with 1 million people on the waiting list for it, something tells us this one will be a hit.

Bellabeat Shell can hear your unborn baby's heartbeat

Another nice touch is that you can record the sound of your baby's heart via the app and even share them with family and friends. Plus it includes tutorials on fetal heart positions.

The original Shell device which we covered last year never went on sale.

"We decided to go back to the drawing board and come out with a different approach," Urska Srsen, Bellabeat's co-founder, told us, "but we didn't reject that idea for good. We were really focused on the app, and then we also came up with the add-on."

I had a very quick demo from Srsen at the Wareable Tech Awards and can confirm it's a small, unobtrusive accessory - sadly it was ever so slightly too noisy to hear the demo of what the heartbeat would sound like.

The first batch of the Shell has actually sold out but Bellabeat says the second batch will be available to buy for $69 in mid December from its site.

Bellabeat Shell can hear your unborn baby's heartbeat

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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