Teddy Bear
Researchers in Japan recently showed off a robot teddy bear that can help with chronic snoring. Photo Credit: Davidwiz/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Researchers from Waseda University recently debuted an invention at the International Robot Exhibition that could help curb snoring. They introduced Jukusui-Kun, or “deep sleep,” a robotic, bear-shaped pillow that gets snoring people to turn over.

Medical device masks sleep apnea system with adorable cover

The International Robot Exhibition, held bi-annually in Tokyo, is where developers of automated technology go to showcase robotic creations that have any number of applications. Jukusi Kun, or “Deep Sleep” in Japanese, was developed by researchers from the Kabe Lab at Waseda University, according to Gizmodo. The device is a robotic bear that purports to help chronic snorers and sleep apnea sufferers. The device, upholstered in white, resembles a polar bear laying on its back with “arms” outstretched. The user rests their head on the bear’s stomach.

More than the bear essentials

The bear is equipped with a microphone, according to the Daily Mail. The system comes with a sensor pad that is put under the sheets, underneath the user, and a heart rate and blood-oxygen level sensor worn on the hand. The hand monitor resembles a fluffy polar bear cub.

When the “bear” senses loud snoring, a dip in blood-oxygen levels or heart rate abnormalities, the bear’s paw will reach up and tickle users’ heads to induce them into rolling over until they don’t snore as loudly. It’s unknown if or when it will go on sale or, as the Daily Mail observes, if it is “more effective than one’s partner shoving the person across the duvet.”

More than just annoying

WebMD states that occasional snoring is ordinary and “mostly a nuisance for the bed partner of the person who snores.” An estimated 45 percent of U.S. adults snore occasionally and an estimated 25 percent of adults are chronic snorers. Chronic snoring can indicate medical conditions such as sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is caused by an obstruction of the airway or a lack of signal from the brain to the muscles to trigger regular breathing during sleep. The sufferer stops breathing for varying intervals while sleeping and gets poor quality sleep. Without treatment, it can lead to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes.

According to ABC, sleep apnea sufferers are also at greater risk of being involved in a car crash because of sleep deprivation. A Canadian study found sleep apnea patients were twice as likely to be involved in a car crash and three to five times more likely to be involved in a car crash that involved serious injury or death.

Drowsy driving is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to result in 100,000 crashes or more per year, including 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.


Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2061846/Japan-finds-unique-cure-snoring-A-robotic-bear-turns-you-sleep.html

Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5858974/robot-polar-bear-is-gentler-than-your-spouse-tickles-you-when-you-start-to-snore

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/snoring

ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4507182&page=1#.TsK-vGWP-_0

WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea

NHTSA: http://stnw.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/drowsy_driving1/human/drows_driving/

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