Noise-Cancelling Headphones Were Designed to Facilitate Sleep

Noise-Cancelling Headphones Were Designed to Facilitate Sleep

Kokoon designs headphones with clinical levels of rest insights and ambient intelligence

Kiran Umapathy
  • 19 may 2015

A team of entrepreneurs at startup Kokoon has created wireless headphones designed to help people collect a better night’s sleep. What makes Kokoon’s headphones ‘smart’ is they come embedded with electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors that monitor where the user is in their sleep cycle to optimize the ambiance and facilitate sleep.

The wearer can listen to their own relaxing music or choose from the Kokoon library of sleep techniques developed by sleep scientists in the U.K. As the sensors notice the wearer is falling asleep, they adjust the audio volume and remove frequencies that are likely to awaken the listener. When the listener is fully asleep, Kokoon seals the wearer in a sound sleep with the help of white noise. As alarm time approaches, the headphones look at the sleep cycle as to wake the wearer at a time when they are unlikely to feel groggy.

Kokoon’s app lets users review sleep data such as the amount of time spent in the REM sleep cycle. A sleep score is formulated so users can see just how restful a night of sleep they got and make adjustments for improvements.

The headphones are a vast improvement from other noise-canceling headphones in the comfort department, utilizing air flow cushioning and a CoolGel Comfort System to ensure that the user does not become uncomfortably hot. A patented FlexMould™ design with hardware stored away from the ears allows the headphones to be comfortable for back or side sleepers.

Kokoon has also partnered with acoustic engineers at Onkyo Corporation to integrate world-class audio into its product and ensure the device works well as a pair of everyday headphones.


The idea for Kokoon was conceived when CEO Tim Antos was searching for a solution to his sleep problems that did not involve medication or earplugs. As Antos tells PSFK:

I’m very anti-sleep medication due to their dependency issues and general aversion to too much medication. In my desperation I went on the Internet with the attitude that I don’t care how much I spend I need something to help me get to sleep, but I just couldn’t find anything.

I found that actually relaxing audio of the Internet was most helpful, yet it was just so uncomfortable. I started prototyping at home with 3D-printed models until the genesis of Kokoon arose.

While the headphones were originally devised for a better night’s sleep at home, Kokoon now believes the market is much bigger than they originally imagined. “1.1 billion frequent travellers and 2.3 billion light sleepers, not to mention snorers, new parents, insomniacs and sufferers of tinnitus are really interested in the product,” Antos adds.

The Kokoon team is made up of renowned sleep professionals, academics, engineers, designers and developers that have over 100 years collective experience bringing complex medical and consumer products to market. It was supported by hardware accelerator program HAX, which helps teams of entrepreneurs bring their creations to market faster by giving them the access and ability to work with suppliers in Shenzhen, widely-known as the Silicon Valley of hardware.

Kokoon Headphones launched this week on Kickstarter and have already surpassed the initial fundraising goal. The extra money raised will be spent on accelerating the product to market and further development of the app and future products.

Kokoon | HAX | Onkyo Corporation

+electroencephalogram sensors
+noise-canceling headphones

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