May 20, 2008 Designers Eoin McNally and Ian Walton have come up with the concept of a ‘Glo Pillow’ that uses an LED fabric substrate below the surface of the pillow to wake the user with light. Forty five minutes before the alarm is due to activate, the pillow begins to glow. The light intensity increases gradually from 0 lux to 250 lux, simulating a natural sunrise and helping to calibrate the body clock by waking the body naturally. The LED fabric substrate also functions as a display, showing the time on the pillows surface using a grid of LEDs inside the pillow.

The pillow layers include an outer cover made from 100% cotton, a second layer of thin netting, a third layer of foam batting to cushion and disperse LED light, a fourth layer of an LED woven substrate developed by Phillips, and a fifth layer of 5lb density visco-elastic memory foam. Six SOFTswitch buttons control all of the pillow’s functions. A battery indicator glows green when the pillow is charging, and red when it needs charging. The pillow is charged by induction - the pad rests on the bed below the pillow and charges when required. This allows the pillow to be wireless and move freely about the bed. As well as using the interface, the clock can be activated by pulling the entire control panel away from the pillow for easy activation in the dark.

McNally and Walton came up with the concept in response to a brief to create a product which helps to combat the pressures of a "24 hour" lifestyle. They say that using light to wake encourages the body to establish a healthy sleep rhythm, and make the day more productive and stress free when compared to waking from the violent and intrusive method of alarm clocks that disrupt sleep patterns and can induce a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This natural waking process helps to set the circadian rhythm or "body clock" and results in healthier sleep/wake patterns. Sounds good to us - now all we need is someone to make it.

For further info visit Ian Walton’s design portfolio, embryo.

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