A proposed $99 gadget to help improve sleep quality has attracted $1 million of Kickstarter funding in just five days.
The gadget, titled Sense, is an orb that sits on a nightstand and measures light, temperature, humidity, particulates and sound conditions. It hooks up wirelessly with a sleep tracking sensor that includes a six-axis accelerometer and gyroscope and clips to your pillow. The two devices are linked and controlled by a smartphone app.
The idea is that the system tracks the quality of your sleep based on your movement and analyzes possible factors affecting it, distinguishing between long-term problems such as too much light in the room and one-offs such as a car backfiring outside your windows. It then gives you tips on changes you can make to improve your sleep.
The orb can also play white noise, pink noise (a variation of white noise that cuts down volume fluctuations) and raindrop sounds in an attempt to improve sleep.
You can also set an alarm time and have the system analyze your sleep cycle and track signs of you stirring. It will then wake you a little early if it determines that waiting any longer will see you fall into a deeper sleep that will lead to a rougher wake-up at your scheduled time.
Sense is the work of James Proud, a British man who planned to take a one-year break before starting university but wound up moving to California where he began a business with $100,000 funding from PayPal co-creator Peter Thiel.
Proud appealed for a further $100,000 on Kickstarter with the intention of shipping the first completed units in November. At the time of writing, he’s already had pledges of $1.3 million from more than 10,000 backers and has 22 days left to run.
The BBC notes that the Kicktraq site calculates that at the current trend, Proud could expect to raise a total of between $3.34 and $6.05 million, so he may well be among the 10 best-funded projects in the site’s history.