Despite developing some ridiculously cool sleep technology, Beddit CEO Lasse Leppäkorpi hasn’t been sleeping well lately (I know this to be a fact, I saw the graphs). A week ago they launched their Indiegogo campaign for their sleep sensor and pushed out one press release through PR newswire. Since then their campaign has shot up like a rocket, and he’s been responding to a nonstop barrage of requests from press, investors, and new contacts in the sleep industry, and their campaign has rapidly climbed to hit their $80,000 goal today.
Yesterday evening Leppäkorpi came to the cafe attached to our office to show off the Beddit sensor, the real technology behind their Indiegogo campaign. I didn’t know what to expect since a lot of crowdfunded devices eventually turn out to be a lot of noise about nothing. But Beddit easily entered the “Woah! We have this technology?” territory.
So let’s get into it. Beddit is basically a full sleep monitoring solution accessible through your smartphone and online service. To collect data Beddit has a thin ribbon of sensors you put between your sheet and your bed, which measures the force your body exerts on it. The ribbon plugs into the wall and talks to your phone via bluetooth, which can be used to collect light and sound data for even better data collection about snoring and how light effects your sleep.
Beddit employs a fairly amazing set algorithms that interpret the force and movement data to provide sophisticated information, such as heartbeats, breathing rhythms, and then more macro movements, such as rolling around in bed. The sensor is only measuring force, so the heartbeat graphs it provides is actually the ribbon picking up the force of your heartbeats against your bed.
The device is actually that sensitive. A past version developed for hospital beds just screws in like a washer between the bed leg and bed frame, and is able to detect all this same breathing and heartbeat data accurately enough for medical professionals to analyze.
Leppäkorpi showed this version to us (so he could plug into the medical real-time graphs on the computer) and it was frankly amazing. All he did was prop the sensor under the cheap Ikea chair he was sitting on, and heartbeats and breathing rhythms appeared on the screen.
The consumer version of Beddit looks like the simplest ribbon of plastic, nothing special, but within it are powerful sensors. They’ve produced some versions that are so sensitive they can measure the photoacoustic pressure of light, for example. The consumer Beddit version isn’t quite this sensitive, but it shows the upper limit of the technology.
An amazing thing is that despite being so sensitive it’s not so delicate that a lot of weight could break it, or throw the measurements off. Leppäkorpi gives the example that you could have one of your car tires parked on a Beddit sensor and it would still be able to pick up your heartbeat through the seat of your car.
The exciting thing about this technology is passive the use-case is. We’ve been hearing about competing sleep products for a number of years, and they all require wrist straps, head bands, or leaving your iPhone on your bed. On top of that, most of these competing products don’t do anything that exotic – those wrist bands can only measure accelerometer movement and then make guesses of what stage of your sleep cycle you’re in.
They’re really all unsophisticated compared to Beddit, which can accurately measure when exactly you fall asleep, when you leave the bed, how long it takes for you to fall asleep, your resting heart rate, and your snoring and breathing.
The data is analyzed on your phone, and tracks your nightly events, like when you entered the bed, when you fell asleep, the different stages of your sleep, and so on. This data is compressed into a simple metric to make it easy to see how well your sleep went. The app also provides personal coaching for how to get a better nigh’s rest.
The target audience for this type of solution is likely first to be the early adopter and Quantified Self folks, but additionally they are fleshing out the app for different profiles, such as people with sleep issues, athletes, and other lifestyle management groups, like people trying to lose weight.
The potential paths they can go down in the future are pretty straightforward and valuable as well, such as monitoring devices for infants, the elderly, and other profiles.
I really don’t think about my quality of sleep much (perhaps by proxy by thinking about coffee), but we do spend one third of our life in bed, and this stuff looks fun to track, and has instant value by offering features like smart alarms that wake you up during the best possible time in your sleep cycle. Pre-orders of the devices start at $99, which is a really fair price if you’re into this type of stuff. Devices will ship this November.