A pillow is a pillow right? Something to lay your head on and enjoy a good night’s sleep; maybe the occasional pillow fights. Of course, there is no denying that pillows play an important role in ensuring a good night’s sleep; their main purpose is of course to ensure proper spinal and neck alignment, which is why choosing a good pillow is so important. For example, firm yet accommodating memory foam pillows tend to make the best pillows for neck pain. Despite its utilitarian origins that still continue in this modern day and age, it is not surprising that innovators have come up with several ways to give the ordinary pillow an extra ‘wow’ factor (and of course, to help avoid neck pain as well), turning some of these pillows into what can only be described as hybrid-machines. Let’s take a look at five of these high-tech marvels.
- Robotic Pillows – Starting of the list with some advanced robotics, this ‘Intellipillow’ made by a company called Innvo labs is an automatically adjustable pillow that molds its shape to the ideal sleeping position of the user; even when the user is a frequent tosser and turner in bed. It does this via inflatable air chambers while the user himself or herself will rest on a thin pressure sensitive mat that comes with the pillow. The mat will tell the pillow what position the user is currently sleeping in and make the necessary adjustments to prevent waking up with a neck pain. The inflation and deflation of the air chambers is done quietly of course, so as not to wake the sleeper.
- Vibrating Face Pillow – Made by Japanese manufacturer Tenga, who is more known for making, shall we say, ‘pleasurable self-stimulation devices’, this bullet shaped pillow, known as the ‘Tenga Throat Cup’ actually fits like a glove around your forearm for you to rest your head on. No more waking up with a large forearm shaped red mark or corduroy marks on your forehead! The glove itself is approximately 10 inches deep and pulsates according to a ‘hypnotically rumbling’ sensation, designed to lull you into a nice slumber. One can easily imagine many other uses for this vibrating glove pillow of course.
- Anti-Snoring Bear Cushion – Quick summary: it’s a pillow shaped like a bear that is supposed to prevent you from snoring. Now you might be thinking that this just a simple anti-snoring pillow (which tilts the user’s head back for maximum airway flow) that was designed in the shape of a bear for novelty effect. Well, you would be wrong. While we have no doubt that the bear shape was indeed chosen for the novelty effect, the anti-snoring mechanism of this pillow is one that you probably would not expect. The pillow comes equipped with a built-in mic and sensors that allow the bear’s hand to move. While the sleeper lies on the bear’s belly, if he begins snoring the mic picks this up and orders the bear’s hand to…. tickle the sleeper. That’s right, it tickles the sleeper in order to induce a change to the side sleeping position, which typically reduces snoring. While innovative, I can’t help but think how creepy it is for your pillow to tickle you while you sleep. Let’s hope it doesn’t one day decide to smother you instead. This pillow was developed by the Japanese; something which should come as no surprise.
- The Polar Pillow –The least technologically-advanced pillow on this list, yet ironically the one that most people would most probably use. Designed to overcome the problem of the overheating pillow, this pillow is filled with an endothermic (meaning heat absorbing) gel that diffuses the heat from your cranium into the surrounding air. Oh, and it weighs approximately 12.5 pounds, meaning that if you find yourself with an unwelcome bedroom intruder, one good whack across the skull should be enough to put them down. You can even throw in an Arnold Schwarzenegger-inspired ‘cool off’ one liner after that.
- Pillow Phone – Designed by the Japanese company Wilcom (again, no surprise), this is basically a pillow with a built in phone. If you’re tired of holding that phone to your ear while chatting with that cute boy or girl, then this phone is for you. Perfect for those long distance couples who always have the “no, you put down the phone first, tee hee” conversations.
A pillow is thought of as a boring yet necessary object for everyday use. Yet with a bit of creativity and technological innovation, it can be transformed into so much more.