Sleep better with Sleep Sounds, the latest feature from Sense.
For the last year, a green light has reassuringly pulsed next to my bed just as I turn off the lights, letting me know that the ambience is optimal for sleep. During the summer months, when even the window AC unit struggled to keep the room temperature comfortable, that light would pulse yellow, a warning that there was too much humidity.
The source of the light, and the data, is Sense, a sleep aid system developed by San Francisco-based Hello that began as a Kickstarter project nearly two years ago. Sense combines a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled base station that stays plugged in next to your bed, taking light, sound and temperature readings, with so-called Pills that clip to a pillow to take a sleeper's movement data. Together, they capture, and through a mobile app convey, a huge amount of useful data that, over time, creates a trend chart that determines the quality of one's sleep and how it can be improved.
To date, Sense has worked extremely well for me, helping me figure out that going to sleep just half an hour earlier was more important than sleeping longer.
Today, the company is releasing an update for the system called Sleep Sounds, which uses the included speaker to generate a variety of soothing audio tones, including white noise, wind, fire, rain and more. Sense already uses its speaker as a gentle alarm clock, so the company's CEO, James Proud, says this is the logical next step.
"We're using the same hardware [as before]," he says, improving the product for everyone. "We now have the perfect combination of hardware, software and data," he continues, noting that by accumulating millions of hours of collective sleep data it has been able to refine its algorithms to make pointed, useful suggestions on how to get a better night's rest.
Proud says that Sense's design plays a big role in how easily it is accepted into the bedroom, fitting in with existing furnishings while avoiding the dreaded "tech-on-a-desk" look. The Pill, too, is nondescript, attaching passively to a pillow with a small battery that only needs to be changed once a year.
Sense is administered through an iOS or Android app over a Bluetooth connection, and the company has regularly issued updates over the past 12 months to alter the layout to make trend data more accessible and useful. This is where Sense Sounds is enabled and customized, and where the company hopes people will find a better night's sleep.