People snore for a variety of reasons, say scientists – but the one thing all snorers have in common is the noise they make. And that, in turn, brings discomfort for the people who have to sleep in the same room with them, say Netanel Eyal and Yoni Bazak, the Israeli creators of what they say is the world’s first all-around snoring noise solution.
“Our Silent Partner smart patch works to suppress snoring noise for all snorers, regardless of the reason,” said Eyal. “Other solutions work for only some kinds of snorers, or are just too cumbersome to use, requiring straps or large attachments. This is a product the world has been waiting for.”
If the response to the crowdfunding campaign for the product is any indication, Eyal is onto something. Slightly more than halfway into its Indiegogo campaign, Silent Partner has raised over $185,000, 463% of its original $40,000 goal.
“The patch uses noise cancellation technology to create a virtual box that muffles snoring noises before they can spread,” said Eyal.
“If the noise the average snorer makes can be measured at 60 decibels, which is quite noticeable, Silent Partner reduces it to less than 40 decibels, which most of us can easily live with.”
Numerous studies, including one at Petah Tikvah’s Beilinson Hospital, back up the claim, Eyal added.
The Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) tech used by Silent Partner had been around for decades, but ANC is generally used to keep outside noises away from the ear – for example, in expensive earphones and headphones that are used to enhance the music-listening experience with ANC, keeping ambient noise away from the listener so they can better concentrate in their music. In the case of Silent Partner, the technology is being used to keep noises inside a virtual field, close to the mouth.
Silent Partner’s technology senses the amplitude and frequency of snoring noise and broadcasts in real-time a sound wave with an inverted phase to the sound detected. Based on the physics phenomena of destructive interference – where sound waves of opposite amplitudes essentially suppress each other and cancel each other out – a much lower amplitude sound wave results, so listeners are protected from the original loud noise.
“It’s similar to other technologies developed by companies in this space, such as Rehovot-based Silentium, but ours is optimized for use at very short distances, so the patches that contain the chip that determines what soundwaves to emit are effective at distances as small as 20 centimeters from the mouth,” said Eyal.
Silent Partner’s technology is actually relatively simple, at least for experienced physicists and computer geeks like Eyal and Bazak – but they are at pains to explain why no one thought of this solution before to solve the snoring noise issue.
“It could be that most solutions have a medical component to them, diagnosing the cause of snoring and trying to treat it and thus reduce the noise level,” said Eyal. “We are medically agnostic, in that we do not deal with the medical aspects of snoring in any way – just the noise issue.”
As a result, say Eyal and Bazak, users of the product are encouraged to see their doctors to find out if there is a medical reason for snoring, which could be indicative of a serious problem like apnea. However, they stress, there are many non-medical reasons for snoring – from sleeping position to the construction of a snorer’s jaw.
“It’s hard to find a product that works for all snorers, because people snore for a variety of reasons,” said Eyal. “Because Silent Partner focuses on what is universal – the noise – we can offer a solution to quiet the noise no matter how and why you snore.”
The market for snoring solutions is huge. In the US alone, 90 million adults snore with some frequency, while 37 million snore habitually. Worldwide, the market for anti-snoring products amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Because it has no medical diagnosis component, Silent Partner has no FDA approval requirements, and the product – designed in Israel and manufactured in China – will be ready for shipping by mid-2016.
However, Eyal and Bazak do see a medical diagnosis role for the product. “Many older people who have snoring problems are often asked to undergo tests at a sleep lab, where they are attached to apparatus which records their snoring level and other data to determine if the snoring is caused by a medical problem. The sensors that record that data could easily be added to our product, so the system can be used to diagnose whether or not there is a medical issue involved in the snoring, making it more comfortable for people who fear spending the night in the hospital to get a proper diagnosis.”
Besides Indiegogo, the entrepreneurs have raised funds from several angels, and they have a lot of fans in Israel’s tech community – including start-up maven Bob Rosenschein, the CEO of Israeli information app Curiyo, who said that Eyal and Bazak “have an extremely cool and unique way to help people sleep quieter. They are going to help millions of people get a good night’s sleep.”
Rosenschein didn’t say if he was one of those millions, but if he is, Silent Partner is there to help, said Bazak. “We want to help you, your friends, your family and millions of people around the world to have a quiet night and improve your quality of sleep. We have developed a revolutionary product that will quiet snoring noise from which we’ve all suffered.”