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CES health tech, ranked

An Equinox expert on whether 9 products will fulfill their promises

Every January, the Consumer Electronics Show presents the most cutting-edge technology across all categories. To find out whether the new releases will actually follow through on their claims, Furthermore asked Matt Delaney, national manager of innovation for Equinox, to offer a verdict on each. Here are nine products, ranked from most to least promising.
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  • Umay Rest

    Umay Rest

    The promise: The eye mask uses proprietary thermal meditation technology to reportedly relieve stress and restore eye health, which is threatened by digital-first lives, thereby improving sleep. It was the honoree of the CES Innovation Award for Tech for a Better World. (Available for pre-order.)
    The verdict: “Your eyes process an incredible amount of sensory information every day and screen usage is at an all-time high, so I like the premise behind using thermal meditation to give them an opportunity to recover. This is definitely something I would be interested in trying.”

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  • illumy

    illumy

    The promise: A smart sleep mask, the illumy improves sleep quality through natural lightwaves. The mask’s red light gradually dims at night to mimic the sunset and brightens in the morning to mimic the sunrise. You can control the settings, such as the rate at which the lights fade in and out, via an app. 
    The verdict: “Light exposure helps regulate your circadian clock. Many people are exposed to artificial light sources late in the day and/or wake up before the sun, both of which can make it difficult for the body to find a normal rhythm. Light therapy can be a great way to get your system more aligned, so this is one I’m interested in trying.”

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  • LectroSound

    LectroSound

    The promise: LectroSound bills itself as the first sound machine to leverage advanced analog techniques that create the most crisp white noise on the market.
    The verdict: “White noise comes out evenly across all hearable frequencies and can help mask sudden noises that often wake light sleepers or disturb people trying to fall asleep. This device can be a great addition for those exposed to excessive street noise or share their sleep space with a snoring partner.”

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  • YogiFi

    YogiFi

    The promise: This mat acts like a virtual yoga assistant, tracking your movements and posture. It provides in-the-moment form corrections and checks your session’s effectiveness by correlating with body vitals. The mat is compatible with the Apple Watch, FitBit, and other fitness trackers. (Available for pre-order.) 
    The verdict: “For people who have a tough time getting into yoga poses without the watchful eye of an instructor, YogiFi sounds like something that might help them improve their technique.”

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  • AMO+

    AMO+

    The promise: Worn around the neck, the AMO+ generates mild electromagnetic signals to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and improve sleep quality. The device also reportedly enhances body functions by stimulating the vagus nerve (which controls things like heart rate and the gag reflex) and balancing your autonomic nervous system. 
    The verdict: “Vagus nerve stimulation has shown promise in treating some forms of epilepsy and depression, so there’s great interest in finding other applications for the therapy. However, the vagus nerve is incredibly complex and while this sounds promising, more research needs to be done before we can make a definitive recommendation.”

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  • FADES Eyewear

    FADES Eyewear

    The promise: The lenses in these battery-powered glasses lighten and darken based on your surroundings, so they quickly adapt if you run or cycle from a shaded area into full sunlight. The brand has goggles on the horizon as well. 
    The verdict: “Most people today don’t get enough exposure to sunlight. While outdoor athletes may benefit from these, I would recommend those who spend most of their days indoors allow their eyes to acclimate to their natural surroundings.”

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  • Healium

    Healium

    The promise: Healium offers virtual mindfulness journeys that are guided by your own brain patterns and heart rate. The more positive your thoughts and the lower your heart rate, the better your virtual “life” becomes—you’ll hatch holographic butterflies, grow flowers, or illuminate the solar system. The subscription service is designed for VR headsets and mobile devices.
    The verdict: “Meditation and mindfulness should be easily accessible. Requiring a brain-sensing headband and a set of VR goggles increases the barrier to entry and shifts the focus to an external device rather than your internal sensations. I am not a meditation purist, but this seems like it somehow defeats the purpose.”

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  • VibraCool Flex

    VibraCool Flex

    The promise: The VibraCool Flex is marketed as the only device that combines several science-backed therapies to ease acute and chronic pain. It uses vibration to speed muscle repair and increase blood flow, cold to reduce inflammation, and heat to reduce spasms. 
    The verdict: “I’m not sold on this one. Yes, vibration can help improve localized blood flow, but it can also increase the cumulative insult to damaged tissue and therefore should be used with caution on acute injuries. Cold has also been shown to reduce the body’s natural inflammatory response which can delay healing, so you may want to keep it on the heat setting when dealing with chronic musculoskeletal issues.”

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  • Somnox Sleep Robot

    Somnox Sleep Robot

    The promise: This pillow-robot hybrid falls and rises to mimic calm breathing. When you rest your head on it, you subconsciously replicate its rhythm, helping you relax and sleep more soundly. The Somnox can also play meditative tunes, ambient sounds, or your own music via its app. 
    Delaney’s take: “While slowing your breath can relax you, spooning something that moves could potentially wake you during lighter phases of sleep. I would have to see it in action, but to me this sounds more like a sleep distraction and there are simpler strategies one could use to downregulate their system.”

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