Getting a good night’s sleep is elusive for many of us. Equally bothersome at times is finding peace and quiet when we’d like a break in noisy environments to read, relax, meditate, or even take a nap. Sleep aids of various types are a large and growing industry and noise-cancelling headsets have created their own market, especially for air travel but useful in other sound-crowded spaces, too.
Kokoon Technology is gearing up for a full launch of what it labels “the world’s first sleep sensing headphones”. Funded by greater than expected success from a KickStarter campaign, Kokoon has raised almost $2 million to date and plans to bring its fully realized product to market later in 2016, skipping right past an initially planned trial launch due to more than 10,000 “preorders” via KickStarter. Clearly Kokoon has surfaced a strong demand – the test will be whether the shipping product performs as promised.
Kokoon’s promises are appealing. The headset is designed to be comfortable enough to sleep in, both soft and cool. Built in EEG sensors track your brain waves to help you learn about your sleep stages. Connected to a smartphone via bluetooth soothing selections from an audio library help you relax and fall asleep. The app will awaken you during a period of light sleep so you feel most refreshed. Three forms of noise cancellation, active, passive, and white sound, shut out and mask environmental and ambient noise so you aren’t disturbed while you read, relax, or sleep. Kokoon is partnering with audio giant Onkyo to provide high quality audio for a superior listening experience as a regular headset. You can order a Kokoon headset via preorder for $219 for a single set including a leather travel case, $389 for a ‘couples set’ of two, or, if you are inspired to develop your own app for what looks like it might be a huge success, $349 preorders a developer kit with a headset plus the application program interface (API), software development kit (SDK), and support.
For all the promises of technology in the past 50 years, our lives have not gotten less busy. For many the pace of progress has meant greater involvement in our world, engagement with more people and groups, and a press for greater productivity. Two of the costs of the information age have turned out to be threats to healthy sleep and seemingly inescapable cacophony of other people and devices also engaged in flying bits of data. If the Kokoon headset can deliver on all that it promises, providing great sound when you want it, escape from sound when you don’t want it, and assistance in getting healthy rest, that will be a win-win-win. It will be further interesting if some entity grabs the developer kit version and takes the Kokoon’s EEG sensing technology further for health tracking purposes.