Link Estadão

Technologies for those who want to sleep better

Korean startup's smart pillow detects snoring and adjusts its own height to stop noise

Korean startup's smart pillow detects snoring and adjusts its own height to stop noise

Having a good night's sleep is learned from an early age, essential for the body. Often, however, accelerated routines, stress and the frequent use of luminous screens (such as cell phones and PCs) hinder precious hours of rest. But the technology industry is looking at how to solve this problem using its own weapons. a market called sleeptech (sleep technology) and which could be worth up to $ 81 billion this year, according to a forecast by consultancy Persistence.

In the last edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), technology fair held at the beginning of the month in Las Vegas (USA), startups and large companies occupied most of the area dedicated to health and well-being to showcase their news to improve sleep . An example is the MotionPillow pillow, from Korean 10minds, which promises to end snoring at night.

To work, the pillow needs to be integrated with a small device, also sold by the startup, capable of detecting the user's snoring volume throughout the night. When detecting loud noise, MotionPillow can adjust its height, as if it were an airbag. Thus, the device changes the position of the user's head and improves his breathing, eliminating unwanted noise.

During tests carried out by the report in Las Vegas, the pillow took about two minutes to react to the change of position command and adjusted the airbags with such subtlety that it would not awaken the most sleepy of the users.

Fine adjustment

Subtle is an important feature in the evolution of technology. In the first generation of sleep solutions, which emerged a few years ago, data collected by cellphone apps or wearable devices was not always accurate enough. In addition, the use of the devices themselves could affect the quality of sleep.

Years of experience, however, have made innovations more subtle. a trend. According to Joo Ferreira, business development manager in artificial intelligence (AI) at the Research and Development Center (CPQD), a goal of technology in recent years is to make the relationship of people with devices increasingly natural, without affecting their routine.

This is precisely the goal of the Climate 360 ​​smart bed, also present at CES. Made by the American company SleepNumber, the furniture has a system that allows the user to control the temperature of the mattress according to his will. The technology is sophisticated to the point that each side of a double bed can have a specific temperature, adjusting to the taste of different users.

Philips lamp emits light to awaken user

Philips lamp emits light to awaken user

The system can also regulate its temperature throughout the night, according to the environment. In addition, it has the ability to learn the user's habits over time, automatically adjusting the mattress to make it more comfortable. But a product for a few: according to SleepNumber, the bed should hit the market in 2021, for $ 8,000.

Large technology companies are also eyeing the sector, such as the Dutch Philips. In Las Vegas, the company presented a series of sleep products. Most interesting is a kind of bedside lamp that helps the user to fall asleep faster and wake up more easily, controlling the light for each stage of sleep and even emitting sounds suitable for awakening.

We combine in-depth knowledge of the consumer's experience with working together with the medical community, says Annete Kapitan, global director of sleep health products at Philips.

Validation

For doctor Luciano Drager, vice president of the Brazilian Association of Sleep Medicine (ABMS), the sleep technology sector is experiencing an interesting phase of evolution, but it should be viewed with caution. Like new drugs, these technologies need to be medically validated to see if they really help people sleep well, he says. In this scenario of innovation, inventions may emerge that are not necessarily useful.

Another concern is the obsolescence of technology. Will pillows and smart beds have constant updates? After all, a mattress does not have the same life span as an iPhone: an object in the bedroom that usually lasts for years and it would be problematic to see the technology of a bed become outdated in a short time.

We still have to think about privacy. To be efficient, objects in the connected room need to capture user data. Knowing how a person sleeps sensitive information and should be treated responsibly.

If this occurs, however, the sleeptech sector may have relevant impacts not only for well-being, but for the evolution of medicine. Most of these devices have monitoring systems that can bring useful information to doctors, says Drager. It is a way to democratize the diagnosis of problems such as apnea, since the analyzes will not be restricted to laboratories.

* The journalist traveled at the invitation of Intel