Having trouble sleeping? If this invention - developed by the Sensory-Motor Systems Lab at ETH Zurich - has anything to say about it, you might soon be sleeping like a baby.

The Somnomat project aims at developing an autonomous robotic platform that is not merely able to monitor a person while sleeping, but also interact with the person in order to improve the quality of his or her sleep.   

In the first phase of the project the researchers are exploring how vestibular stimulation influences the quality of sleep and how it could be applied to improve it. Among other things, it could greatly improve relaxation and stimulate falling asleep. Moreover, the team is developing an intelligent bed which could "reduce snoring activity by autonomously influencing the posture of the user during sleep."

Sleeping is important. More important than we often realize or care to acknowledge. But one must be aware of the fact that the risk of cardiovascular diseases is increased by bad sleep hygiene, sleep deprivation, and sleep disorders. They also have a negative impact on general mood, cognitive performance, and motor functions.

So, do get your sleep. Sleeping is not a waste of time. It's time for the body to recuperate.

Check out the video below (curtesy of BBC World News) to see how the Somnomat can rock you to sleep with smooth movements, using custom-designed motors.

Aug. 10, 2016 Living photo: Sensory-Motor Systems Lab

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