As seen on Netflix Docuseries, BABIES

Bringing Mother's Voice Into the NICU
Watch on Netflix

Bringing Mother’s Voice into the NICU

smallTalk is a system created for NICUs to help meet the developmental needs of their tiniest patients. smallTalk safely brings the voice of the mother, or other caretakers, to the NICU baby and enriches the NICU’s sensory environment, giving infants the best chance for natural language development as they grow.


smallTalk is managed by a simple voice recording app, connecting wirelessly to a small, egg-shaped speaker designed to fit right inside the incubator. The company continues research on a therapeutic version of the system, where certain babies, with the help of a therapist, use a sensor-equipped pacifier that, when sucked, will reward the baby with 10 seconds of their mother’s voice from the speaker. Built on years of research by Thrive Neuromedical’s Co-Founder, Nathalie Maitre, MD, PhD, this research is currently supported by an NIH grant.


Bringing Foreign Language into Your Home

After experiencing beginning success and positive results in the NICU, smallTalk is preparing to launch as a consumer product line. Having researched the impact that early exposure to foreign language can have on an infant’s brain development, this consumer product line enables babies to delightfully and actively engage with foreign languages before they are even 6 months old, creating new connectivity in the brain’s language center and unlocking proven lifelong benefits.


smallTalk devices are loaded with lullabies and stories in foreign languages accessed through the smallTalk app. Recorded by young mothers in their native tongue, the content is uploaded to one of the smallTalk products, built around developmental milestones throughout infancy. The first product utilizes a sensor-equipped pacifier that, when sucked, will reward them with 10 seconds of exclusive content from an elegant, egg shaped speaker designed for the nursery. This fun activity for babies creates new connections in the brain (“synapses”), recognizing an expanded collection of speech sounds (“phonemes”) beyond the language or languages spoken in the baby’s home.

A Word From Our Co-Founders

My research is in neuroscience of developing infants, with a passion for understanding how we can harness the sensory system to help babies recover from brain injuries they have around the time of birth. I am fortunate to work on developing new technologies like smallTalk that you see can see on Netflix(r) BABIES: Part 2 that help parents to optimize their babies’ brain and body health. Sometimes the research I do is focused on finding new treatments and sometimes it is on detecting problems as early as possible so others can find new treatments.

Nathalie Maitre, MD, PhD

Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer, smallTalk

Nathalie and I co-founded Thrive Neuromedical to translate the best science into simple, effective and accessible technology related products that support and enhance infant brain development. Seeing her work on Netflix Babies: Part 2 is both gratifying and inspiring. All babies are deserving of the best environment in their first months to maximize the development of their brain, whether they are in the NICU or at home. Our team at Thrive has created smallTalk as a result of her work, and we are excited to play a role in supporting parents and babies around the globe in this way.

Dean Koch

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, smallTalk

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