What it does
40% of the world's population is suffering from sleep deprivation. While sleep is the basis for health. Current solutions are medicines with addictive side-effects. Our product offers the first non-medicinal soft robotic solution for the best night of sleep.
Lots of friends and family members of us were suffering from sleep deprivation. Some worse than others. My mom, for example suffers from a lack of sleep, which is hurting her on the long term. Overnight she's awake, frustrated by the fact she can't sleep. This results in very awful situations over the day; sleep deprivation results in depression, lack of energy and heart diseases. We found that there was no proper solution to help/assist people sleep! The only solution were expensive addictive drugs that had very nasty side-effects that made the problem even worse. We wanted to help our friends and family with soft robotics (our passion!)
How it works
Our design is a soft robot that is intented to be taken into bed where users actually spoon our robot. By spooning the robot, somnox senses you, and starts to know you. By hugging the robot you will feel that it can actually; breathe! It simulates the breathing of a human being in the most perfect breathing rhythm. Research has shown that feeling a breathing rhythm results in influencing your own breathing rhythm. And since your breathing rhythm influences your heart beat and metamobilism, makes breathing one of the most important elements of getting relaxed and at rest. Next to that; our robot senses if you are awake, in deep / light sleep and based on that data express different behaviours; for example; when you are having a nightmare, Somnox will shine a light for you with a comfortable lullaby. Somnox is your sleeping companion, during the night, giving the night's rest you require.
We have made lots of iterations and prototypes throughout the development of Somnox as it is at this moment. It all started at the drawing table; drawing over pictures of people spooning. What would be the most ergonomical and friendly shape for a robot like this? We clayed models to iterate quickly and make prototypes out of cardboard. We didn't have any money so we had to develop things with household appliances around us. This boosted the creativity in the process and is what gave us the idea of the breathing robot in the first place. We did a lot of user testing, bringing our prototype to people who were suffering from sleep deprivation and based on their feedback created a better version of the product. Somnox is a robot that interacts with the user on an emotional level, and we noticed that people actually came to see Somnox as an organism and friend during the night. We used those kinds of insights to create the most huggable soft robotic, yet.
How it is different
Our product is the first non medicinal soft robotic that gives you the night's rest you require.. Our robot is the first of its kind to help people sleep by making use of a moving actuator; simulating the breathing rhythm of a human being. By holding (spooning) our robot you will be influenced on your own breathing rhythm. Your breathing rhythm is in relation with your heart- beat, rate and metamobilism. And as soon as Somnox assists you breathnig you'll feel enlightened and relaxed, ready to fall asleep.
We decided to start a business with our robot. The whole team (consisting of multiple disciplines: industrial design, mechanical engineer, computer scientists) decided to dedicate us for a full gap year on the robot as a StartUp within YesDelft! The first next steps are finding funding to realize production and do customer validation, to identify the needs and demands for the next definitive product.