Earlier this year I made a post on this blog about the recent design changes to the Aurora dream-enhancing headband which included the size and layout of the pcb prototype.
However I must point out that I was not the first person to notice the similarities to the Zeo design – in particular in relation to the fabric electrodes and the clip on headband arrangement, as it had in fact been pointed out by one or two backers on the Kickstarter comments page here.
I must admit Manoko and co. do have a point.
This is a far cry to the original design promo which got funded to the tune of nearly $240k just over a year ago, back in January 2014.
United States patent application (pdf) 20140221779.
Changes to the prototype are to be expected I guess. I know, but apparent or blatant copying is another thing entirely, although they do say that imitation can be seen as a form of flattery. Certainly LaBerge has seen this after the success of the NovaDreamer and the resultant attempts, imitations and copies made of his dream mask since.
Zeo is dead! Long live Zeo!
Many readers will already be aware that the company behind the Zeo sleep monitor closed back in 2013 along with any website support.
Zeo is a headband that measured and collected EEG electrode and accelerometer derived sleep-related data which could then be relayed wirelessly to a bedside unit not dissimilar to an alarm clock. This enabled the user to monitor, record, and track their own sleep patterns, including REM, and any awakenings during the night.
The basis behind the idea was to awaken the subject via an alarm during the correct part of the sleep cycle in order that the user would wake up refreshed like a sort of sleep coach.
The mobile version followed on in 2011 for use with smartphones.
Zeo is even used in lucid dreaming today, although users have to devise their own ways to get round the lack of software and firmware support including the practical problem of electrode replacements.
Ben Rubin, a co-founder from Boston MA originally conceived the project along with fellow students from Brown University over 10 years ago. He then went on to form Revv and the Change Collective.
He still has the patent. (US008870764)
Spot the difference competition
All answers and entries on a postcard please!
(Aurora photos courtesy of iWinks LLC)