About Sense Smart Alarm

By HighYa Research Team
Published on: Sep 28, 2015

As many as 70 million Americans suffer from insufficient sleep, but Hello Inc. believes you deserve better. How?

By allowing people to understand themselves and the world around them. And their first product to help you accomplish this is the Sense Smart Alarm.

By monitoring your bedroom environment for things like light, temperature, movement and more, the Sense Smart Alarm can help you better understand what happens as you sleep. Then, by changing many of these factors, you can improve your sleep and wake up feeling great.

If this sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, you’re not alone. It’s pretty cool! But with so many new electronics entering the market each day, will the Sense Alarm end up a success, or just an overpriced flop? Regardless, is it for you?

To answer all your questions, let’s start by taking a better look at how Sense works.

How Sense Smart Alarm Works

We’ll talk more about the technology behind Sense next, but in a nutshell, the device uses a variety of built-in sensors to monitor two things: 1) your bedroom environment and 2) your movement (tossing, turning, snoring, etc.).

Why? To give you greater insight into your sleep, a part of most of our lives that largely remains a mystery.

Upon waking, the Sense Smart Alarm will send all of its data to your smartphone and give you a complete overview of your sleep cycle. This Sleep Summary shows you everything that occurred while you slept, such as:

  • How long it took you to fall asleep after going to bed
  • How well you slept
  • How environmental conditions could have affected your sleep

The Alarm’s app will then aggregate all of this information and provide you with a Sleep Score, ranging between 1 and 100. You’ll also be given tips about how you can improve your sleep and increase your score.

As Sense’s name suggests, the device also contains a Smart Alarm. What’s this?

Simply set the time you’d like to wake up (like any other alarm). But instead of waking you up exactly on time, Sense Smart will analyze your sleep cycle and wake you up during the lightest part. This way, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

Sounds like a lot! How does it accomplish all this?

The Technology Behind Hello’s Sense Smart Alarm

The Sense Smart Alarm’s central “hub” is slightly spherical and about the same size as a baseball. Inside, all of the device’s sensors and electronics are stored. Outside, you’ll find an acoustic mesh that allows the sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, ambient light, proximity, sound, and particulates, but that keeps out dust. All of this surrounded by a uniquely designed polycarbonate shell.

Sense Smart AlarmImage: www.hello.is

Once you receive your Sense Smart Alarm through the mail, all you have to do is unbox it, plug everything in, and download the iOS or Android app from www.senseapp.com. You’ll then need to enter a few details about yourself, such as name, gender, and weight, and pair the device with your smartphone and WiFi network.

You’ll also need to pair your phone to the Sleep Pill, a small device about the size of a quarter that attaches to the edge of your pillowcase. Inside the Sleep Pill is a high precision accelerometer that monitors your movement while you sleep.

And the more you use your Sense Smart Alarm the more it will learn about your habits, providing you with even more accurate and insightful information.

Despite its advanced technology, the company claims Sense Smart was designed to fit seamlessly into your life. All you have to do is set it up once and sleep, and sense will handle the rest.

Will all of this easy-to-use technology cost you a pretty penny?

Will Sense Smart’s Price Keep You Up All Night?

The Sense Smart Alarm is priced at $129, with free shipping. You’ll be able to choose between Cotton and Charcoal colors.

During checkout, you can also purchase an extra Sleep Pill for your partner for an additional $49.

For this price, each order includes:

  • Sense
  • Sleep Pill
  • Micro USB Cable
  • USB Power Adapter
  • Documentation

All Sense Alarms come with a 30-day refund policy, less S&H charges, as well as a 1-year limited warranty.

What’s the story about the company behind Sense Smart Alarm?

Who Makes the Sense Smart Alarm? Are They Legit?

Sense Smart Alarm is manufactured by Hello Inc. based out of San Francisco, CA. Hello was founded by 23-year old James Proud, who started the company after he sold his previous one, called GigLocator, in 2012.

Much of Hello’s capital for the Sense Alarm was raised through a Kickstarter campaign, which garnered nearly $2.5 million in 30 days, based on an original goal of only $100K.

Despite his young age, James seems to hold a lot of promise within the business world, as he is also the first Thiel Fellow—started by Facebook investor Peter Thiel—to turn a profit.

Although the Sense Alarm was first shipped to Kickstarter supporters in November 2014, it wasn’t until the first part of 2015 that the device became available to the general public. Despite the length of time it’s been available, there weren’t many online reviews at the time of our research.

The NY Times wrote a fairly scathing article about the Sense Smart Alarm (and sleep trackers just like it) when they wrote that it’s “fundamentally useless,” but claimed that the Smart Alarm functioned “well enough, for what it is.”

What did they mean by this? Basically, that sleep trackers like Sense can give you plenty of data, but where do you go from there? How can this improve your sleep experience?

“What do you do with its data? There are many potential reasons for your poor sleep — you’re working too hard, you’re partying too hard, you’re too stressed, you have insomnia, you have a baby, your neighbors are noisy, you suffer some physiological problem — but the sleep tracker isn’t going to be able to fix any of those. As I studied the Sense’s readings every morning over the past week, I was puzzled over what to do next. I knew I had slept poorly; I had gone to bed too late, woke up too early, and I felt terrible. Why did I need a device to prove that? And unless the sleep tracker was offering to take care of my children for me, why should I bother with its data?”

Speaking of other sleep trackers, what kind of competition does the Sense Smart Alarm have?

Other Brands of Sleep Trackers

According to a fairly recent Huffington Post interview with James Proud, “what sets Sense apart is its ability to do more than simply track your sleep during the night. With an array of sensors, Sense can help you to better understand how things like light, sound, temperature, air quality, and humidity impact the quality of your sleep. This gives us a more complete understanding of how to then improve things.”

Is this really the case though?

These days, it seems like just about every electronics manufacturer has one sleep tracker version or another, including wristbands, watches, clocks, standalone smartphone apps, and more. Many of these are inexpensive and generally track only a couple different variables.

Looking only at standalone devices though, the only thing currently similar to Sense is the Resmed S+. This device also sits on a bedside table, tracks your breathing, and monitors environmental factors like light, temperature, noise levels, and more. Then, it also aggregates this information and displays it on your smartphone.

The Resmed S+ is priced slightly higher than the Sense and seems to have a few less sensing capabilities, but the biggest difference is how they track your movement. The Resmed S+ senses movement (including breathing) using a type of echolocation, while the Sense uses a quarter-sized sensor that attaches to your pillowcase.

This also gives the Sense Alarm the ability to fully track 2 people in the same bed, whereas Resmed S+ can only monitor one.

Whew! We hope you’ve learned a lot up to this point. We know we sure have! But considering everything you’ve read, where does this ultimately leave you?

Will the Sense Smart Alarm Help You Sleep Easy?

Poor sleep isn’t a cause; it’s a symptom. In other words, something is causing your poor sleep, whether this involves alcohol, the use of electronics, eating too soon before bed, temperature, the wrong kind of mattress or pillow, snoring or sleep apnea, chronic back pain … the list goes on.

And to figure out what this underlying cause is, you’ll need to speak with your physician. If something isn’t immediately apparent, you might need to undergo testing. Yes, it can be cumbersome and yes, this could be expensive, but your body needs good sleep, so it’s ultimately worthwhile.

Where does the Sense Smart Alarm come in? After you’ve spoken with your physician and started implementing changes, Sense can help you better understand which changes are improving your sleep, and which aren’t.

Simply make a change, track it over the course of a few weeks using your Sense Alarm, and find out if they’re making a positive difference. If not, change your approach and begin the process anew.

But here’s the catch: In most instances, you’ll already know how well you slept, and whether or not any of these changes made a positive difference in your sleep, as soon as you wake up—without so much as glancing at any of the information provided by Sense Alarm.

And as the NY Times article noted above, this could call into question it’s overall value. After all, information without a purpose is just noise, which isn’t likely to help you sleep any better.

Will the Sense Smart Alarm provide detailed insight about your sleep patterns and sleep environment? Yes. Will the information you receive make Sense’s price worthwhile? This is something that might not be so clear.

SEE ALSO: 9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep

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