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Hacking Insomnia With Smart Goggles

Workaholics, insomniacs, athletes or just about anyone in need of good, restful sleep can soon snap on a pair of “smart goggles” and doze off. This bold new medical device uses light and sound pulse emissions to trigger sleep – even in the most difficult patients. It was created by the Sana Sleep company and is due for release in 2018.

[The Company] raised more than $450,000 and figures are expected to rise as the technology continues to be tested.

The smart goggles resemble a VR headset and make use of “audio-visual stimulation to trigger specific patterns in the brain. In much the same way that when you go into a nightclub, and hear fast music and see strobed lights, the VR headset produces an excited state in your brain. This device produces the patterns your brain needs in order to produce deep states of relaxation,” said, Sana Health founder and CEO Richard Hanbury, to Tech Crunch.

Additionally, this streamlined version of the VR headset is able to measure a person’s pulse and breathing; and also customize the lights and sound signals it emits based on individual preferences and biometrics. As a result, a person can fall asleep in as little as 10 minutes; better yet, many who have sleep issues can enjoy restful sleep through the night.

Smart Goggles: Rest for the Sleep Deprived

The smart goggles are being tested on athletes who need short bursts of rest or “power naps” while traveling, as well as patients suffering from chronic pain who are unable to sleep continuously because of their condition.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 adult Americans suffers from sleep deprivation. The study showed that people were sleeping far less than the required seven hours per day across all 50 States, including the District of Columbia. Health experts have stressed that getting enough sleep is vital to both physical and mental health.

man asleep with goggles

Sleep deprivation is closely associated with increased incidences of stroke, heart disease, mental distress, obesity, and diabetes.

“Sana is based on 24 years of sleep research and has gone through extensive subject trials. While bringing continuous improvement to the experience, the company will need to now spend some time understanding which distribution channels are best adapted for its offering,” officials said.

The founder himself used to suffer from chronic pain, sleep-related problems after surviving a vehicle crash in 1992.

Prospects are looking up for companies addressing sleep problems. The company, Sana Health, has received financial backing from various investors. It has raised more than $450,000 and figures are expected to rise as the technology continues to be tested.

Reports said there are 30 tech startups developing and testing sleep-related tech products. These include hardware companies, landed seed and venture rounds. Among the products are innovative mattresses, wearables, internet of things devices meant to improve sleep, and a wide range of wearables.

Bold Applications for Smart Googles

Aside from making people fall asleep faster and for a longer period of time, there are bolder and wider-reaching applications for this technology.

Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard, who with co-pilot Andre Borschberg, flew around the world for 500 days aboard a solar-powered plane, used the smart goggles to take deep, restful naps during their flight. All in all, the pilots got a total of three hours of sleep per day, and this was broken down into 20 minute periods.

The plane moved an average speed of 46 miles per hour and checked on the pilots’ vital signs every 20 minutes. It is an unusual application but demonstrates the possibilities that await with technological advance.

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