This breathing robot wants to help you sleep better
Kickstarter of the week: Somnox
If you’re struggling to get enough shut-eye, perhaps you’re sharing a bed with the wrong person. You need someone smaller. Squishier. More soothing.
The person I’m describing isn’t actually a person. It’s a jelly bean-shaped robot called Somnox.
What is Somnox?
This is Somnox. It looks like a giant plush jelly bean. But unlike a giant jelly bean, this has the potential to be very good for you indeed. It is the “world’s first sleep robot to improve your sleep by breathing regulation, soothing audio and affection,” a representative of the company tells Alphr via email.
Get into bed, embrace Somnox and it immediately gets to work. It sings a soothing song, or makes noises designed to get you to nod off, gently falling silent when it detects you’re asleep. More than that, it monitors your breathing, and gently breathes in and out, letting you subconsciously mimic it, unwinding and putting yourself in the perfect frame of mind for sleep. Plus it’s a way of sleeping with a soft toy and pretending it’s just for science, rather than retreating to the simple pleasures of a pre-schooler.
“Focusing on stress-related insomnia – stress being one of the most common causes – we decided to take a technological approach to solving sleep deprivation,” the company spokesperson explains.
The company has published a white paper going into the details of why it works, but the real take home here is that it appears to do so. Over 80 test sleepers have tried shacking up with Somnox, and the results are pretty impressive. 90% reported to falling asleep faster, 70% said they felt they slept better and 60% reported feeling more energised.
They’ve come a long way. The first prototypes “didn’t work at all,” the company tells us, with gradual iteration reaching the point it’s at today. One big issue: the robotic noise. Making the mechanics “superduper silent” took “a lot of effort.”
Why should I care?
Sleep impacts everything – it can mean the difference between a gloriously productive day and a horribly unproductive one. If Somnox works as well as the early indications suggest, then it’s got to be worth a punt.
How much and when would I get it?
With just six days left to run before the Kickstarter campaign ends, the early bird prices have well and truly gone – and this isn’t a cheap product. Right now, the cheapest you can get the Somnox, the charger and its washable sleeve is €449 – or around £391.
Despite this high price, it has smashed its funding target – raising £153,888 from 445 insomniacs with just under a week to go.
You’ll have a few more sleepless nights between now and the expected delivery too. As things stand, the company expects the Somnox to be dispatched in July 2018.
Is there anything else like Somnox out there?
There is only one product I can think of that even comes remotely close to the Somnox, and by a happy coincidence, I reviewed it earlier this year. The ResMed S+ isn’t half as cute and huggable, but it does a couple of the same thing: namely it plays soothing sounds, and uses low power radio waves to measure breathing, and match sounds to it. Not 100% the same, but pretty close.
As you can see from the link above, it costs quite a bit less. But then, physically being able to feel the breathing of a device is almost certainly more soothing.
How risky is backing Somnox?
As ever with crowdfunding, there is no such thing as a guaranteed product. The end result may not be what’s promised, might never see the light of day, or might disappoint in another way. Only pay what you can afford to lose.
With Somnox, early signs are pretty promising. Prototypes exist and seem to work as promised, even if this is the company’s first Kickstarter. In fact, if you’re on the fence, the company says that you can try the Somnox for yourself… though you will have to get to the Westcord Hotel in Delft to do so…