The kidney-shaped huggable bot breathes steadily along with you, providing a physical sensation that, its creators claim, will subconsciously influence your own breathing rhythm. If that’s not enough, it can also offer up some soothing audio to help you relax.
“Our company was started in the robotics institute of the University of Technology Delft,” Julian Jagtenberg, one of the Netherlands-based founders of Somnox, told Digital Trends. “As four robotics engineers, we wanted to create a soft robot that could solve a personal issue: That of sleep deprivation.” Jagtenberg said the team started by looking at ways to solve the problem, but most of them seemed to involve medication — sometimes with addictive side effects. “This was the moment the Somnox sleep robot was born,” he said.
Having created the robot, the team has tested it on more than 85 subjects, who report that it has helped them. The sleep robot was found to be especially effective when it comes to helping people who have a tough time falling asleep as a result of stress or anxiety. More formal clinical trials are set to take place in 2018. The team also plans to incorporate artificial intelligence features into the robot so that it will be able to gather data and use this to predict when you may have trouble sleeping — and take steps to help.
If you would like to get hold of your very own Somnox robot, you can currently place a pre-order on Kickstarter. For a starter price of 449 euros ($530), you get a Somnox sleep robot, washable sleeve, a mobile app with over-the-air updates, and a charger. Shipping is set to take place in July.
While that is certainly a decent chunk of change to invest in a robotic pillow (although, to be fair, we never stopped to think what a reasonable price for one might be!), if this works as promised, it could be transformative. After all, you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep!