Three years ago, registered nurse Melissa Gersin was at home Googling how circuitry works and taking apart vibrating neck pillows. Now, she’s the entrepreneur behind Tranquilo, a vibrating baby mat meant to soothe fussy infants.
Tranquilo is based on principles from Happiest Baby on the Block, a pediatrician-developed methodology that says that, among other things, newborns miss the rocking and white noise of the womb. “Babies are in constant motion [in the womb]—they’re suspended in water, essentially,” Gersin explains. “The maternal blood flow [also] creates this pulsation, and babies miss that noise.”
Gersin’s product is designed to replace those missing elements. Tranquilo can be set to vibrate at several different settings—high, medium, low, or heart beat-pace—and creates its own gentle noise, mimicking the pre-birth environment. And unlike other vibrating baby products, infants come in direct contact with the lightweight mat, amplifying its effects.
“It can be used anywhere. It can be used within a swaddle blanket, a mom can use it in her infant carrier,” Gersin says. “You can stay stationary and you can use this, and your baby can be soothed.”
Small batches of Tranquilo are currently for sale online, retailing for $50 or $65 depending on size; a full-scale production run should be ready by February. But getting there, Gersin says, wasn’t easy. She first got the idea while working at Tufts Medical Center and being trained as—what else?—an infant crying specialist. She pitched the product to her former employer, but was turned down.
“I said, ‘Okay, this must be a bad idea,’ and I kind of put it down,” she remembers. “Every time I would go in at every one of the different hospitals, the idea kept coming back up. This idea just kept knocking over the course of several years.”
It knocked hard enough that Gersin decided to make it herself, despite the fact that she had no tech background. After roughly three years of product development, trying it on friends’ children, safety testing, and patent processes, Tranquilo was born.
“I’m always kind of asking why, why, why,” Gersin says. “It’s opened up by my eyes to things that I appreciate—my own curiosity, and how I had let that be hidden in previous life or previous careers.”
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