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More crashing waves to make us drowsy

How many times can a white-noise machine be reinvented?

Hammacher Schlemmer

Forget the mousetrap--some inventors are apparently obsessed with building a better sleep machine instead. Or, in this case, a "travel sleep sound generator" called "Sound Oasis."

The latest example of white-noise machines, as we used to call them, tries to raise the bar yet again with all manner of sleep-inducing sounds (18 altogether). This one's product literature includes such marketing gibberish as "a patent-pending sound designed to combat jet lag using non-linear music and slowed nature sounds that encourage relaxation and can reset the body's internal clock." Our translation: They've added bird songs and bamboo chimes to the usual ocean surf and thunderstorms.

It does have one thing going for it, though: portability for use in hotel rooms or airplanes. If it can drown out the conversations around us on a commuter flight, it's worth the $90 price tag.