For many couples, pillow talk soon gives way to pillow snores. Seriously, snoring is a major problem even if you’re single, and sleep apnoea is a recognized disorder that, in extreme cases, can even lead to loss of life.
The Japanese have brought to bear their well-known expertise in robotics to find a possible solution. Christened “jukusui-kun”, which means “deep sleep”, researchers at Wasaeda University have developed a robotic pillow that, they claim, will help people who snore to overcome the problem.
Here’s how the robotic pillow is supposed to work. The person with sleep apnoea or a snoring problem lies down on a specially designed sheet that has monitors built into it.
His head rests on this polar bear-shaped robotic pillow and the fingers on one of his hands are connected to a monitor that measures “saturation” or amount of oxygen reaching the fingers. The pillow has microphones to pick up the sound of snoring and robotic arms attached to it.
Low oxygen readings detected by the finger monitors, accompanied by loud snores detected by the microphones in the pillow get the robotic polar bear to act by raising its robotic arm and gently tickling the sleeping person’s face.
The objective is to get the person to change the position of the head, so that the episode of apnoea / snoring ends.
The pillow itself looks quite soft and comfortable. However, whether keeping one’s fingers connected to a monitor all through the night and sleeping on sheets with cables connected to monitors will be seen as better than snoring is a moot question.