A number of years ago an inventor’s group was heavily advertising on local television, so I hopped the three busses it took to get there to pitch my idea for a new product. I certainly wasn’t in any financial position to create my product which is why I told them to freely share it with other inventors so that it gets made. At one point he asked me if I’d use it, and I told him I would if I ever needed to use an alarm clock again.
I wanted a device that would read brain waves while we’re asleep and provide feedback to how we slept. I stressed that it should know when to wake you up based on your sleep cycle rather than the actual time that was set, such that if the alarm’s set for 6am but light sleep is achieved 15 minutes before that, it’d wake you up rather than wait until you’ve gone deeper into sleep again. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being woken by my alarm while I’m in the middle of a dream. I knew it could be done with an antenna rather than any kind of headgear, and again I stressed that I wanted them to tell every inventor so that my smart alarm got built.
A year or so later in 2011, I was flipping channels and caught an episode of Gadget Girlz report on such a new device. While the Zeo Sleep Manager offered brain wave reading to monitor sleep patterns, the device required a headband and seems to have lacked the smart part about when to wake someone up. It also required a computer to access all the data. New releases started sending data directly to a smartphone instead of the clock display, and although athletes praised the system for helping improve their performance, by 2013 the company decided to close up shop.
Now a new crowdfunded project is releasing its version of a sleep monitor called Sense. Packaged in a stylish compact unit, this device also uses a smaller “pill” that attaches to the pillow to monitor movement in order to determine sleep activity. Sense monitors the environment in your bedroom, watching for noise, light, temperature, particulates in the air, and more.
Ideally, someone will package a device that uses an antenna in the pillow to monitor neural activity, and offers the best features of products on the market. It could even add NASA’s subvocal speech recognition to record what we’re saying in our dream that would otherwise be inaudible.
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