We’ve all been there. You’re watching TV late at night and you start to nod off. Despite your valiant struggle to stay awake, your eyes close, and next thing you know, you’ve missed the end of The Blacklist — again. Well, not anymore. With the help of Virgin Media, two teenagers created a wearable called KipstR that knows when you’re falling asleep and starts to record your favorite show when you inevitably succumb.
Two students from the Manchester Creative Studio named Ryan Oliver and Jonathan Kingsley, teamed up with Virgin Media’s Switched on Futures initiative, to make their dream a reality. The pair helped develop a 3D printed wristband that sports a pulse-oximeter that can tell is you’re asleep. Once it sees you’re asleep or dozing off, the KipstR turns into a TiVo remote that can pause or record a show. It can also resume play as soon as it sees you’re awake again, if you were just “resting your eyes” for a moment.
KipstR is still in prototype status, but according to the Daily Mail, it “features a spark core chip, pulse-oximeter, push button, sleep mode indicator, and a small LiPo battery.” The KipstR’s pulse-oximeter tracks your blood flow to determine your levels of alertness. When your blood flow slows to sleeping speeds, the spark core chip in the KipstR is triggered and tells your TiVo box to pause or record the show you’re watching. Conversely, when you wake up, your blood flow speeds up, and KipstR sends a message to your TiVO to resume play.
The KipstR band was 3D printed with an Objet Connex 3D Printer a Polyjet resin, which is supposedly stronger than your average 3D printing material. It looks like any other small, wrist-bound wearable, and although it appears to be slightly bulky, it’s not much bigger than your average smartwatch. You’d also only have to wear it while you’re at home watching TV, so looks aren’t exactly paramount.
“Building KipstR with Virgin Media was a brilliant challenge for us but we’ve learnt so much and are really pleased with the end result,” Ryan said in a writeup posted by Virgin Media. “And to top it off I now know what to get my dad for Christmas as he is always nodding off in front of the TV!”
Of course, KipstR only works for customers who have Virgin Media’s TiVo boxes installed, so cord-cutters and non-TiVo customers are out of luck for now. However, seeing as the pulse-oximeter technology KipstR uses is readily available, it’s entirely possible that copy-cats could pop up — assuming the trial period is successful. The wearable isn’t available for sale yet, but you can sign up for a trial on Virgin Media’s website.