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Withings Aura aims to help you sleep and wake better

David Ludlow
6 Jan 2014
Withings Aura
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Withings Aura uses sensors and light to help you drop off and wake up more naturally

Withings is expanding its range of smart, connected health systems with the Aura, which is designed to help improve your sleep. Using a combination of sensors to monitor your rest and a light pulse generator, the Aura promises to both help you get to sleep and wake you up more naturally.

One of the key aspects of the system is being able to properly monitor both your sleeping habits and your sleeping environment. The system does this with two devices. The first is a sleep sensor, which slips underneath your mattress, monitoring how you move, breath and your heart rate.

The second device is the bedside device, which looks rather like a funky bedside lamp. This monitors noise pollution, room temperature and light levels. Combined, the two sensors send data to the smartphone app, allowing you to find out in detail exactly how well you're sleeping.

However, monitoring is only the first step, as once the Aura has collected data on you, it can generate light and sound programs for the bedside device to help you drop off and wake up more naturally.

According to Withings, the system uses light and sound programs that adapt to your personal body clock. The colour-changing LED is designed to manipulate the secretion of Melatonin, which is the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle; the sound produce is designed to replicate the circadian rhythm's frequency and pattern, helping you relax to go to sleep and to stimulate you to wake up.

In the demo we saw, the bedside unit pulses red to help send you to sleep and blue to help wake you up. It was, unfortunately, too loud to hear how the sounds it was making, so we'll have to wait until we have a review sample to find out what it can really do.

As with a regular alarm clock, the Aurora can be set to wake you at a specific time. However, as it can monitor your current sleep cycle, the system is smart enough to detect the stage of sleep that you're in. This lets it adjust the wake-up program, slowly raising your from your slumber, rather than the rude awakening of regular alarm clocks.

As it's tuned to your sleep patterns, it also promises to be smarter than the wake-up lights, which merely increase in brightness slowly over a set period. Of course, we'll have to wait for a review sample to find out how different it really is.

For partners, the Aurora can work with two sleep sensors, monitoring both people's sleep patterns and setting the bedside unit accordingly to calmly wake them both.

It will go on sale in Spring 2014, with a US price of $299; we didn't have UK pricing at the time of publishing.

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