최종 수정일: 10월 5일
Reported by Gun-hyung Park / May 23, 2017
"I'll help you sleep soundly"
Global IT (information technology) companies such as Apple, Google, and Samsung Electronics and startups (initial start-ups) are rushing into the sleep tech market. These companies are introducing devices and high-tech new technologies that help people sleep well and wake up refreshed by combining the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors. The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas earlier this year also set up a sleeping tech exhibition hall for the first time.
The global market for drugs and sleeping supplies and aids for treating sleep disorders is estimated to reach 35 billion dollars per year. Cha Doo-won, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Planning and Evaluation, said, "Sleep tech is likely to emerge as a key pillar of the rapidly growing healthcare industry."
◇ Advanced technology to induce deep sleep and wake up.
‘Apple’ acquired Finnish startup ‘Bedit’ earlier this month. Bedit makes a film-type sleep tracker and app (application) on the bed. The tracker can measure people's heart rate, snoring, and how deeply they fell asleep. Apple is expected to apply Bedit's technology to its products such as iPhone and Apple Watch. The acquisition of Bedit is Apple's winning move, which uses healthcare as its next-generation growth engine, said Business Insider, an economic magazine. "Bedit's technology will also affect the increase in Apple Watch sales."
‘Google’ is developing sleep tech technology at ‘Verily’, a biotechnology subsidiary, and ‘Nest’, a smart home subsidiary. Verily has a technology that tracks people's exercise and sleep patterns with various sensors. When the obtained data is entered into Nest's smart home device, it analyzes sleep conditions with sensors installed in the bed when humans sleep, and then adjusts temperature, humidity, and noise in the house.
Samsung Electronics also developed a similar technology called 'Sleep Sense'. Sleep Sense, an IoT device installed under the bed, is connected to home appliances such as TVs and air conditioners through the Internet. An official from Samsung Electronics said, "When a user falls asleep, the TV is turned off and the air conditioner is turned on or off according to the indoor temperature," adding, "We are adjusting the release date." Fitbit, a company specializing in smart bands, also released a new product called "Alta HR" last month that can track sleep conditions in various stages.
◇Unique idea products are released one after another.
Startups are also offering products that apply unique ideas and technologies. British startup ‘Shhhh’ has applied a technology to the bed that keeps beverage temperatures constant in space by NASA. When the body temperature of a sleeping person rises, the mattress absorbs heat and lowers the body temperature. The hairband of ‘Sleep Shepherd Blue’ in the United States analyzes the user's brain waves to emit electromagnetic waves that induce sleep or wake them up. There is also a sleep tech device that reproduces nature in the bedroom. The smart pillow "Sunrise" developed by Mode Modern in the U.S. contains light emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce various colors. When you fall asleep, you emit a comfortable green light, and when you wake up, the red light slowly brightens up as if the sun were rising.
HoneyNaps, a Korean startup, launched a sleep tech device for newborns with GE in the U.S. at the end of last year. When this product, which combines four sensors, is attached near the bed, it monitors the child's sleep condition as well as tells if he vomits while sleeping. There is also a function to inform parents in advance when the child wakes up.
"In the 1990s, no one was interested in how they slept, but now everyone admits that sound sleep improves work efficiency and confidence," the British Guardian said. "Because global companies are confident that jumping into sleep tech is money."