Backerjack Podcast #14: Breathing Sensors, Social Servers, and Heat-Seeking Bedroom Bots

In Episode 14 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • Neobase, a home server that lets you create your own private Facebook for sharing with your (small) circle of friends. Now all your base are belong to you!
  • Wakē, a focused light and speaker combo that mounts over your bed to wake you gently without disturbing those sharing the budoir
  • Prana, a wearable sensor that scores your breathing and posture and lets you practice via a video game

Many thanks to SnapPower for sponsoring this episode! Please support its campaign.

Download  the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!

Connected Objects Sleep

Wakē shines a little light — and audio — to rouse without disturbing mattress mates

The smartphone has encroached upon the classic clock radio as the tool of choice for greeting the day, but both offer an escape from slumber via sounds delivered at an elevated decibel. That can mean a rude awakening for the person who shares a bed with the early riser.

Wakē swivels to project a light and parametric speaker (one that can focus a beam of sound) that work together to gently wake owners and their bedfellows individually. The product mounts above the bed on a wall. From there, a companion smartphone app communicates when and how the sleeping should be awoken with a combination of light and sound. Wakē can hone its spotlight and audio beam on bed occupants even if they are spooning. However, pre-empting concern about (unwanted) cameras in the bedroom, the product relies on heat seeking to identify which person should receive its stimuli. Developer Lucera Labs seeks $100,000 by May 30th. Backers can pick up a unit for $250 (or $125 per bed occupant).

Wake has more applications on the drawing board; a reading light is a natural next step. The product represents the most radical rethinking of the alarm clock in a long time. It’s unusual position in the bedroom and need to be charged every few months, though, diminish ts useful impact for couples. somewhat Still, it represents the most clever use of parametric speaker capabilities to date.

Sensors/IoT Sleep

Smartphone-adjustable ThinkPillow measures sleep, wakes you up

Sleep is one of the most important ways to stay healthy. Sleeping resets mind, body, and soul, giving the chance for healing. However, most have trouble with their sleep patterns, either waking up in the middle of a REM cycle or sleeping for too short of a time.

ThinkPillow is a smart pillow that is fully adjustable in height and firmness. It is designed with special technology aimed at fixing any kind of spinal pain. Not only does it come with comfort, however, but it also tracks your sleep patterns. With this data, the accompanying smartphone app can choose when to wake you so that you’ll feel alert and refreshed instead of bedraggled and exhausted.

ThinkPillow’s smartphone app charts sleep patterns over time and, as such, can be useful to physicians if something goes wrong. In addition, it lets the user track what they’re doing three hours before bedtime and can make suggestions based on those habits. For instance, if the user isn’t getting enough sleep, but drinks coffee every night, the app will tell them to cut it out. ThinkPillow also spies on family members and lets users see the sleep patterns of mom, grandma, dad or whoever else uses the device.

Getting the right amount of sleep can be truly difficult. They say you should get out of bed when you initially wake up in the morning, but if that’s too early for some, they’d rather get another half an hour of sleep. It’s great that ThinkPillow can tell when the person is actually asleep, not just when they intend to be asleep, and uses that to wake them up in the morning. While well-intentioned, the family sharing feature may get a little annoying to some. Though it is good for elderly family members who are too far away to check up on. One ThinkPillow can be had for $102 NZD (~$79 USD) for estimated delivery in April 2015. This product hopes to raise $50,000 NZD (~$38,800 USD) on Kickstarter.

Home Sensors/IoT

Ramos uses a Bluetooth beacon to coax your butt from the bed

Getting up in the morning for some is a delight and for others means terror. Getting up on the wrong side of the bed means a day full of disappointment. Sometimes the way we get up can determine the course of the day.

Ramos is an alarm clock that not only gets you out of bed, but does so the right way. The alarm consists of three parts, first the clock by the side of the bed, a Bluetooth sensor, and your smartphone. Upon waking up, the user must get out of bed and bring their smartphone close to the sensor. Distances can be customized, but most choose to put the sensor in the bathroom or kitchen next to the coffeepot. For heavy sleepers, Ramos requires a four digit code to really make them think.

The accompanying smartphone app allows for multiple alarms, snooze limits, multiple users, and more. A courtesy mode makes one initial beep, but then shuts up to consider letting others sleep. The user can also play their own music with or without a gradual loudness mode to make waking up a little more smooth. With a USB port, you can charge your smartphone so it can stay attached to the alarm and the alarm runs on battery when unplugged, so it can never be tricked.

Ramos has really thought of everything in terms of waking up. The movable sensor makes it easy to prepare for different kinds of days. Its various modes consider the comfort of bedfellows and family members. Best of all, it doesn’t wake you up with a greased pig-like chase around the room like some unconventional alarms do. For backers who want to get up in the morning without feeling like committing murders, try Ramos for a donation of $99 in either white or black for estimated delivery in May 2015. Ramos is hoping to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter.


Wake Wing offers a widebody alternative to parasailing

Athletes and other active types are always looking for new ways to up the ante. Extreme sports are the way to go, but once you’ve tried them all, they can get boring. That’s where Wake Wing comes in. It’s a new kind of water sport. Similar to wakeboarding or waterskiing, you’re dragged behind a boat attached by a rope. To set up, stand on the board before starting the boat. Once you get going, presumably you’ll be lifted up into the air, compliments of the ground effect; the same effect that allows airplanes to fly. The campaign claims the product will lift you up four to six feet into the air, though there’s no photographs or footage to substantiate this claim.

If this product actually works, it looks like a cool and fun way to enjoy the water. On Backerjack, we’ve seen all kinds of extreme sports devices like the WingBoard, a board that is similarly dragged, but behind an airplane (!) instead of a boat. Wake Wing lets you float in the air without the threat of death. The campaign is seeking to raise $4,000 on Kickstarter and does not offer the actual product at this time.

Connected Objects Kids/Babies Lighting

BabySleep is a connected nighttime lamp for kids

Toddlers and small children are notorious for refusing to go to sleep. Even when they can barely keep their eyes open, they insist on staying up, unwilling to miss any action. Babysleep is a clock designed for these types of kids, teaching them when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up. Looking like a little wooden birdhouse, the product has a sun and moon on it. When the sun is lit, it tells the child that they should be getting up. When the moon is lit, it’s time to go to bed. Parents have several options in controlling Babysleep. They can either set times from the product itself, from a computer or even use an accompanying app. Times can be adjusted easily for nap time, traveling or sleepovers. Brightness of the lights as well as colors can also be customized.

The campaign included testimonials from parents claiming that Babysleep has become a fun nightly ritual for their child. It also goes into the detrimental effects of the often erratic sleep patters of terrible two-year-olds. Other children’s alarm clocks focus on different goals, such as the Onaroo Alarm Clock. This product urges kids to stay in bed longer so that their parents can sleep. Babysleep focuses more on the child’s well-being than the parent’s. Backers can donate £99 (~$160) for this Italian product. Babysleep is looking to raise £50,000 (~$80,600) on Kickstarter.