Designing an electronic device to wake someone up is easy — it just needs a clock and suitably loud speaker. But designing a device that wakes someone up gently so they're not a tyrant in the morning, and helps them get to sleep at night? That's a challenge that Withings tackled with its new Aura bedside system that uses light and sound to make falling asleep and waking up a lot easier.
What looks like a foghorn sitting on your bedside table is actually a lamp and speaker combo packed with sensors that constantly monitor the temperature, ambient light, and noise in the room. It works alongside a thin sensor mat that slides under a mattress and monitors a sleeper's heart rate, breathing patterns, and body movements.
All of this data is recorded and used to create a custom program of coloured light and sounds that are supposed to relax you as you're trying to fall asleep, and gently wake you up in the morning. According to Withings there's a correlation between specific wavelengths of light and your body's production of a chemical called Melatonin which aids in sleep, and the Aura is designed to help that process along.
All of that collected data is also accessible through an accompanying app allowing you to better understand what's going on in the middle of the night, including correlations between noises or temperature changes that rouse you from sleep. The app also lets you set alarms, and customise when the Aura starts it wake-up routines depending on what's worked best for you. It's like the modern equivalent of a rooster, except the Aura decides when it's time for your body to think the sun is rising. [Withings]