Washington University working on making smart pillows

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – You might call this a mid-afternoon nap, but for Zimin Hang it's actually work research.

'The root word is Chrono like chronograph or watch,' says Zimin Hang, Co-founder Ultradia.  'The idea is if you can sleep well you'll get more time.'

The Washington University graduate has partnered with classmates and professors in perfecting the science of sleep.

Their company, Ultradia, has come up with a way of turning an average pillow into a smart pillow with a memory phone insert called Chrona.

'It started out as a senior project for me and a few engineers and at the end of the project we had Chrona,' says Blake Sakran, Head Engineer Ultradia.

'Chrona tracks your sleep and then uses speakers that play sounds that help you sleep more deeply and also sounds to help you wake up,' says Hang.

With assistance and supervision from the Washington University School of Medicine's Department of Radiology, the group hopes to revolutionize REM sleep and rest, taking the sleep assessment studies out of the lab and into the community.

'They're doing the right thing in testing the system,' says Linda Larson-Prior, Associate Professor of Radiology Washington University School of Medicine.  'They're not just testing it for what the FDA cares about, safe and effective but does it promote sleep and sleep in a way that's positive.'

'Linda and my part of it is to make sure when they want to record what the brain is doing under the influence of their pillows that they're doing it according to reasonable scientific principles,' says Tracy Nolan, Research Assistant.  'We don't have any bias.'

Ultradia and they're smart pillow foam pad insert will hit the market come October. In the meantime they'll continue testing and recording results so they can learn everything about sleep from A to Z`s.