CES 2014: Withings unveils ‘smart sleep’ system

Smart device maker Withings has unveiled the Aura system, a "smart sleep" gadget designed to wake people from sleep at the optimum moment.

The system works by using various sensors placed under the mattress and next to the bed that study the person sleeping.

Body movements, breathing cycles, heart rates, noise levels, room temperature and light levels are all monitored; the information is then relayed back to a colour-changing bedside lamp that is able to determine when best to wake up the sleeper.

A smartphone app also comes with the Aura system, giving feedback to the user about their night's sleep.

Withings' system was launched on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, given a preliminary price tag of $299 (£180).

The gadget is one of many smart devices expected to be unveiled during CES 2014 this week, with "wearables" predicted to become part of the consumer lexicon this year.

Several of the smart devices on show are sleep-related, including infant sleep tracker Sensible Baby, smart pillow Sleepow and sleep-monitoring smartwatch Basis.

"Providing data to help you understand your sleep patterns has the potential to help you get over problems with them," Gartner analyst Brian Blau told the BBC.

"But it's an open question just how useful each individual type of device will be. Because they are so new and there's not a mass market yet, I think that a lot of learning and experimentation has got to be done to figure out exactly what to monitor, how best to analyse the data produced and how to give good feedback to whoever is using them."

Also on display from Withings at CES 2014 is the Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor, aimed at those wishing to monitor their blood pressure from their own home and conforming with the growing trend of smart products designed to measure and improve users' health.