The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Robotic Pillow Pokes Snoring Humans in the Face

This robotic pillow bear is a guaranteed cure for chronic snorers

1 min read
Robotic Pillow Pokes Snoring Humans in the Face

This robotic pillow bear sure looks comfy. And he is comfy. So comfy, in fact, that you're supposed to fall asleep on him. But you'd better not start snoring, because if you do, the robot will gently reach over and smack you in the face:

Okay, so maybe it's more of a tickle, but still... 

The idea here is not just to let long-suffering partners finally get some sleep already, but to help people who have sleep apnea, which is a disorder that causes abnormal breathing while you're passed out. The pillow includes a fancy wireless blood oxygen sensor (also shaped like a bear), and if you either start breathing noisily or your blood oxygen levels drop too low, the robot will try to get you to to turn over onto your side. And that's where the tickle comes in.

The tickle looks to be effective enough, I guess, but hopefully the bear will come with a setting that you can crank up from "gentle brush" to "turbo skull crusher" for those chronic snorers who really annoy you.

[ JapanTrends ] via [ Gizmodo ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

Keep Reading ↓Show less