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When it comes to wellness apps, the missing piece is often sleep data. It’s not easy to measure sleep quality with accuracy, although plenty of wearables purport to do so.
The majority of these devices depend on an accelerometer and an algorithm to track the quality of sleep. The outcome is mainly based on when and how much you roll around in bed. The results as questionable. The Apple Watch, perhaps wisely, leaves sleep tracking out altogether.
That’s why a pair of new headphones made by a British company called Kokoon caught my eye. The company launched its Kickstarter campaign just yesterday for its new sleep-sensing headphones and has already raised $85,000 of the $100,000 goal.
The headphones use medical-grade electroencephalographic (EEG) sensors hidden in the band and headphone cups to measure the user’s sleeping brainwaves. The results are presented in an app. The $189 phones are also ergonomically designed to be comfortable enough to sleep in. The audio quality is said to be very good, too, although I haven’t heard them myself.
By monitoring the electronic impulses in the wearer’s brain, Kokoon headphones can determine the exact moment when sleep comes, the different phases of sleep, and the perfect point in the natural sleep cycle to awaken. The headphones then automatically adjust and tune the audio to ensure that regenerative deep sleep is protected from disturbances, and that users wake at the perfect point in the natural sleep cycle.
This kind of sleep data is an important and missing piece in the wider picture of physical and emotional health.
I moderated a panel at a neurogaming conference peopled by companies creating various kinds of wellness and mindfulness apps. Almost all of the panelists said that the ability to access sleep data collected by physical sensors and integrate it with their own products was something they see in their futures.
So, for example, the Lumosity app might access sleep data to better analyze a user’s awareness and mental quickness. A mental health app like Happify might use the sleep data to explain a user’s mood during a specific session.
Lumosity and other apps might be able to access this accurate sleep data through a common data integration platform like Samsung’s SAMI or Apple’s HealthKit — that is, if Kokoon decided to port its app to those platforms.
A representative told me that Kokoon is focused on improving its core product and app right now, but the company is already thinking about ways to share the valuable sleep data.
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