Review Price £249.99
What is the Withings Aura?
The Withings Aura is a 'smart sleep tracking system' that monitors you while you snooze and wakes you up just at the right point with a SAD-style morning light. It's far more advanced than the sleep-tracking app you can get for your phone, and seems like it could diagnose some sleep disorders if you just can't get no sleep.
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Withings Aura – Design
The Withings Aura is a complete sleep package. It features a funky-looking bedside lamp, alarm clock and speaker, and a motion-tracking mat that you put under the sheet on your bed.
It'll not only let you know if your sleep patterns are all out of whack, it'll also help you sleep and wake up better. Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
Perhaps the cleverest bit of the Withings Aura is the sleep mat. You lie on it while sleeping, and it uses sensitive little motion detecting sensors to record all of your movements, big and small.
It then uses this to analyse when you're in the various stages of sleep. All this data is recorded on a smartphone app, and the Aura will tell you exactly how long you manage to sleep each night, and even how much dream time you're getting. Various smartphone apps try to do the same thing, but the higher fidelity mat of the Withings Aura should – hopefully – give you much more accurate results. It can even monitor your heart rate and breathing patterns.
It's not the only sensor at work either. The beside light/radio also has ambient temperature, sound and light sensors, giving you full monitoring of your environment as well as what your body's doing while your consciousness is taking a breather.
Withings Aura: Features
If the mat of the Withings Aura is about monitoring your body, the bedside clock bit has a hand in actually affecting it. Out of the 'foghorn' opening comes light, supplied by colour-changing LEDs inside it.
Depending on the time of day relative to your sleep cycle, the LEDs will change their hue, with the aim of reinforcing the hormonal cycles that make us want to go to sleep, or stay awake. In short, it cycles between red and blue colours depending on whether you're meant to be awake or sleeping.
The bedside unit also features a speaker, used to wake you up. The idea is that you'll specify a time period in which to awake, and then the Withins Aura will – using the mat sensor – judge when you're in the right sleep state to be woken up. There's also a little clock display that fires through the grille on the bedside bit, so it's not all about sleep science. And you can use more than one of the mats if you don't sleep alone too.
UK pricing has not yet been announced, but as it's set to sell for $300 in the US, you can bet you'll spend at least two hundred pounds on the Withings Aura. It'll be available in 'Spring' 2014, although exactly when it'll arrive in the UK is not known.
The Withings Aura fits squarely into the 'very cool' category, and was one of the more interesting announcements of the CES 2014 conference, where it was unveiled. Those who have used a seasonal effective disorder lamp will know that sleep science is not pure mumbo jumbo too. We look forward to giving the Withings Aura a proper test drive to see if it really can improve the way we sleep.
Next, read our Withings Pulse review