One of the surprising things about CES is how many massage chairs are on display — I’m talking several Brookstones’ worth — from a variety of companies and the chairs retail for around $ 7000. It’s not exactly how we think of tech, but they are consumer electronics and they are increasingly high tech. I would tell you which one was best, but when I stopped to try one, the exhibitor told me there was a 2 hour wait. So I’ll wait — until the next time I’m in a mall, killing time.
On a related note, I was surprised to find Sleep Number beds with a subtantial showing at CES. Remember that ‘internet of things’ we keep hearing about? Well, apparently it is poised to invade our dreams.
You’ve probably seen the ads asking you what’s your sleep number. Turns out the mattress is basically a big air tube that can be adjusted from soft to harder; and more expensive models are basically two mattress billed as one in which you can separately tune each side; and also, in some cases, allows you to raise the head or feet by degrees.
Turns out you can change your sleep number and people often do, starting at one and then depending on various situations, switch to another.
What does this have to do with CES, you might fairly ask: Well turns out that there is no feature available in mattresses as inexpensive as $ 900 (which doesn’t sound so inexpensive to me) all the way up to a top of the line state of the art $ 7000 model with his and her controls and his and her sleep information. Turns out that while you are sleeping, without having to wear any additional devices, the mattress measures how long you’ve slept, your breathing rate and other information which is transmitted to a website or device. So that way you can figure out when and how much you are sleeping, and how you might improve all that.
Seeing this high-tech bed in action at CES did raise several questions for me. The first of which is the Goldilocks question: i.e. can the bed tell you when somebody had been sleeping in Papa Bear’s bed? And what their heart rate was? (Yes and Yes).
Also since there is a voice command function: what happens if you talk in your sleep? (You would have to be giving specific commands.) And what if you spill a glass a water on the bed, are you electrocuted or do you short circuit the bed? (No.)
What else can I say: Are sweet dreams made from big data? I guess I’m just going to have sleep on that.
Tom Teicholz is an award winning journalist and producer who has created print, video and social media content for Intel, The Museum of Tolerance and The Milken Family Foundation; and whose work has appeared on The Huffington Post, Newsweek.com, The NY Times Magazine, and The LA Times Op-Ed page. He also has ghostwritten, edited and published essays, treatises and books for private clients.