Jul 02, 2022 Last Updated 10:35 AM EDT

Tech

The UCCS professor invented sleep hat to fight insomnia

Dec 21, 2015 05:57 AM EST

A professor of engineering and innovation at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs invented an electronic hat that can help combat sleep disorders. The device, called Sleep Shepherd, works uniquely with the brain's natural structure to slow brainwave activity and guide the wearer to sleep easily.

Sleep disorders have been classified as a public health epidemic by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to PRWeb. The CDC estimated that 70 million Americans suffer from insufficient sleep that can cause depression, decreased energy levels and weight gain. The sleep disorder costs the U.S. about $63 billion annually in lost productivity.

While some precribed drugs to combat insomnia can lead unwanted side effects, the Sleep Shepherd can naturally help people to sleep fast and allows their natural sleep cycle to operate without any chemical agents.

Sleep Shepherd founder Michael Larson explored auditory-induced hypnosis and discovered that he could fool the brain to sleep by gradually slowing a pulsating tone. He incorporated an EEG sensor that measures brain waves and uses the measurements to slow the tone and installed it on a part of modified earphones. Since he found that earphones weren't comfortable for sleeping, he put them in a cloth hat.

The hat is made of a stretchable and breathable fabric with a plastic box on top that contains the electronics. The device charges via Micro USB and has volume controls to control the intensity of the tone. The sensor in the device detects brainwaves and allows the device to turn the tone off once the wearer has managed to sleep.

As reported on Gazette, Michael Larson tried out the prototype of Sleep Shepherd on his daughter, Jessica Larson, who had a serious sleep disorder that made her to stay in a hospital for a while. Jessica said that the Sleep Shepherd had made a huge difference and really helped her with the insomnia.

After the successful trial test, Michael Larson developed a firm, Mind Rocket LLC, to prepare the mass production for his sleep hat. He found Chinese company to manufacture the product and raised $51,000 fund through Kickstarter for the first manufacturing process. He began introducing the Sleep Shepherd earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Sleep Shepherd has been available on online retailers including Amazon, Brookstone, and The Sharper Image. The sleeping aid costs $150 with a 30 day money back guarantee offer.

According to CNet, the Sleep Shepherd has about 50 percent positive reviews on Amazon, 36 percent negative reviews and the rest neutral.

The founder believes that there is a big market for this product as more than 55 million prescriptions were written in the U.S. for sleep medication last year. The company is also targeting people who want to sleep better to enhance their performance on the job and daily activities.

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