As I noted in a previous post, I used to have a lot of trouble sleeping. I still do, on occasion, but most of that is less to do with stress and anxiety (and light and bad habits) as it is to do with my downstairs neighbour playing shitty music until 1am, or my cat meowing for attention very randomly at the crack of 5am, right when the morning's traffic starts up.
There wasn't a lot that could be done about that, either. Noise muffling materials in the window probably wouldn't have done a lot, and glazing the window would have been expensive. Noise cancelling headphones would have been too uncomfortable to sleep on, as I'm a side sleeper, and earplugs would have basically made it less likely to hear the alarm in the morning.
In 2016 I saw a pickup of sleeping aids on places like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and started to keep an eye on them. First cab off the rank was a device called Muzo, which the company claimed you could put against a window or in a room and enable to reduce sound by tens of decibels, or even place on a table to create a cone of silence around you and another person. Effectively, it claimed it could allow for silent conversations, and reduction of all noise to near imperceptible levels.
Apparently like this, but somehow less effective>
The whole thing seemed like a scam to me, from my limited technological knowledge, as well as the lack of concrete demonstrations or answers to questions posed by backers. I declined to invest, and a quick Googling suggests I was wise to keep my money. It seems that the end result of development was a device that either did nothing, made external noises worse, or just added more noise (in an attempt to provide white noise) to existing noise.
Next up were QuietOn's noise cancelling earbuds, which I considered, but came with one glaring issue - they were earplugs, not earphones, so while they would cancel out noise, they might also make it harder to hear my alarm. I'll note as well that Bose got in on the concept, and made their own.
But then I came across an American company called Kokoon, which actually seemed to tick the boxes. The idea was simple: over-ear, noise-cancelling headphones that contained EEG sensors that would track sleep data, as well as being specifically designed to be comfortable enough to wear to bed - even as a side sleeper.
So I made the purchase. That was back in 2016.
I knew there'd be some time to wait for the things to make it through the various stages of testing and development, and I was excited to see them update their Facebook page to say that shipping would occur in early 2018. We had regular updates from them, so I kept the faith while they told us that shipping would begin in April 2018.
April became May, which became June. They kept telling us about new problems and fixes. Eventually, they told us they would be done by Christmas. It came and went, and suddenly it's 2019.
I emailed back and forth dozens of times to ask where the hell my damn headphones were, in between receiving promises that they were just around the corner (and annoying emails offering me discounts on a second device) and eventually got sent an email asking me to confirm my shipping address with them for shipping.
I tried, but their website did not allow me to update. I emailed them, and got confirmation to advise it was updated, and they would ship within two weeks with an accompanying tracking email. Two weeks went by, and I reached out to ask what was happening, and they responded to tell me that I never confirmed shipping, and I would have to wait for the next production run. With as much politeness as I could muster, I asked them to re-read their own emails to me.
At this point, they had blocked me from commenting on their Facebook page, and stopped responding to my emails. It took them 12 days and a threat of legal action to get any kind of response, where they promised I would be getting them shipped within the week.
Several 'within the week's later (three months worth, in fact), I finally got a message (not emailed, it was added to a ticket in their help site, which took me about half an hour to find) telling me that my headphones were ready for collection. Not that they had shipped - they had shipped a week prior, and had been sitting waiting for collection for several days. Now I'd need to hope that they were going to be held for me until I could pick them up. The cynic in me suggests that this was by design, so they could get the headphones back to re-sell.
So, now that I actually have them, what are they like?
Here's what the buggers look like - credit kokoon.io
Well, you'll have to find out next post!