Do you have trouble falling asleep at night? Have you tried the white noise machines and the essential oils and still can’t find any shut eye? Then it might be time for you to jump on the latest fad aimed at summoning some fantastic slumber: cuddling with a sleep robot.
Well, robot-ish. In reality, it’s a teddy bear-sized kidney bean named Somnox that lights up and “breathes” along with you to slowly guide you into dreamland. The little bot’s gentle hum is meant to sync up with your own breathing, lulling you into a slow and steady rhythm perfect for deep REM sleep.
The technology was developed by a group of sleep deprived engineering students at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. After designing the initial prototype in 2015, the group quickly found that they were sleeping better than ever.
“We were robotics engineers, personally exposed to the effects of sleep deprivation,” Somnox co-founder Julian Jagtenberg told Wired. “We designed a soft robotic prototype to help ourselves and our family members get sleep again. We fell asleep faster, we slept longer. Once people we didn’t know started reaching out to us because they were having a hard time falling asleep, that was the moment we decided this shouldn’t be just an academic project.”
[Want to see what else is new in sleep tech? HEKA Launches World’s First AI Mattress]
The move from academic project to full on sleep product happened in the fall of 2017 with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign. Within a month, Somnox had garnered nearly $250,000, which Jagtenberg and his team have used to get the ball rolling with an expected July 2018 launch.
When the robot officially enters the market, it will be outfitted with basic tech: namely the ability to play white noise, meditation tracks, audio books and heartbeat rhythms as you nod off. After the debut, the team hopes to unveil two software updates, including an alarm clock that delicately wakes you up in the morning and a sleep coach, which will create personalized breathing patterns based on your movements.
With the first batch of Somnox bots scheduled to arrive in July, the company has already started taking pre-orders for its second delivery in October—you can snag your own for a cool $549.
Not sure a sleep robot’s going to help fend off your insomnia? Maybe all you need is a mattress upgrade. To get started on your search, take a peek at our roundup of the best mattresses of 2018. And if you’re interested in adding some cool sleep tech to your bedroom, check out our reviews of the Eight Sleep Saturn and Tomorrow Sleep mattresses.