Can you imagine sleeping with a robot? You may have to and even want to – especially if you are suffering from Sleep Apnea, a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, some of which may last up to several minutes. In bad cases the pauses can occur up to 30 times an hour, resulting in poor-quality or insufficient sleep that will bring on onsets of drowsiness in the daytime.
The apnea-fighting robot, designed by Waseda University’s Kabe Group, looks invitingly like a Teddy Bear but goes by the name of Jukusui-kun. The mechanic pillow stimulates its owner to shift about touching his or her head as it moves its arms. Jukusui-kun is also connected to a pulse oxymeter on the finger of the sleeper; the device measures the concentration of oxygen in the blood. The inbuilt microphone records the sounds of breathing and snoring and relays the data to a PC for evaluation; the results can trigger off the robot pillow that incites the sleeper to move without waking up. Sounds useful, but hopefully they will be available later in different characters?