Noise canceling headphones can be pretty handy if you're trying to catch some shut-eye on a plane or bus. But with their hardened earpieces and stiff bands, most aren't all that great when you're in need of a solid night's sleep. London-based startup Kokoon has designed a pair of headphones equipped with electroencephalography (EEG) sensors and an emphasis on comfort, designed to keep you snoozing until the early hours and then wake you up with feedback on just how well you slept.
Kokoon says that high-tech pillows and sports shoes provided the inspiration for its comfort-oriented, Bluetooth headphones. They are designed to nestle into the natural contours of the skull and store all the electronics inside the band to keep the earpieces nice and slim. The earpieces also feature gel cushioning inside to serve as a mini-pillow for the ears.
Additionally, the team has developed custom EEG sensors that sit inside the headphones. These monitor the tiny voltages in the brain of the wearer as they drift off to sleep and relay data to a companion smartphone app. Using special algorithms, the system is then able to detect when the user is asleep, lowering the volume and canceling out external noises so as not to wake them up again.
Over time, the system learns exactly what techniques are most effective at summoning the sandman and tailors its approach the next time you lay down to rest. This thoughtfulness also extends to the next day with an intelligent alarm that detects the optimal time to wake you up, so as to avoid that early morning grogginess.
There are plenty of sleep tracking apps that offer the same thing, though these generally rely on the accelerometer in a smartphone that is placed on the bed. With its sensors fixed to the top of the user's skull, Kokoon would appear to offer a more precise sleep tracking solution (the company claims it to be 100 times more accurate).
The app offers users a sleep score, and sorts their different states of sleep into categories, such as deep, REM, light or awake. It also offers an alternative to your own music through a library of audio sounds developed with the help of sleep scientists to coax you into a deep slumber.
Kokoon is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, with the team having already cruised past its funding goal of US$100,000. Early pledges of $169 will have a pair sent your way in February 2016 if everything runs as planned.
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