The world of wearable tech has birthed a lot of wrist-worn devices with sleep trackers, with limited amounts of actual sensory input. Instead of joining the fray, Withings has opted for another direction at CES 2014: a smart device that lives near your bed.
Withings Aura Active Sleep System is completely dedicated to sleep: it leaves the wristband behind, and uses a combination of an under-the-mattress sensor and bedside clock device to both monitor and improve sleep patterns.
The under-the-mattress sensor pad measures motion, including heart rate, breathing, and body movement. The bedside device senses noise pollution, lighting, and room temperature. The bedside part also acts as a combination clock and audio/visual stimulation system, using colored light and sound programs to sync with anticipated sleep and awake cycles, reminiscent of previous sleep-aid devices by companies like Homedics.
The $299 Aura is expensive, and looks more elaborate than the typical sleep-tracker you'd get on a Jawbone Up or Fitbit Force, but the Aura's bedside device does triple-duty as a clock, ambient light, and Bluetooth speaker. The Aura pairs with your phone, working with Withings' connected app ecosystem of blood pressure monitors, scales, and fitness trackers.
The Aura will be available this spring. It certainly seems like a device you'd need to actually see and use before judging it.