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Pillow Talk: Connecting loved ones using their heartbeats

Where: London, United Kingdom When: 07 Dec 2015 Credit: Little Riot (Supplied by WENN.com)

Interaction design company Little Riot is launching a wearable that helps separated families drift off to the sound of their loved one's heartbeat.

Pillow Talk is a easy-to-use product that transmits the sound of one person's heartbeat to another's pillow, using a smartphone app and two beautifully-designed wristbands. The idea is a labour of love for 28-year-old designer and entrepreneur Joanna Montgomery, and has received interest from long-distance lovers around the world.

Many of us are looking forward to enjoying Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year with our families and friends this year. But thousands of people will spend the holidays separated from those they love, whether they're stationed far away on military service, or working abroad to provide for their families.

Improvements in technology mean that families can now communicate more easily, and even see the faces of their loved ones on video calls. Pillow Talk aims to take the next big leap for communication, creating something that families can feel, not just see or hear.

Little Riot hopes to raise at least $100,000 using the crowdfunding platform to make Pillow Talk a reality. The Kickstarter campaign launches today, and Pillow Talk will be ready to ship to backers in the Spring.

"Pillow Talk is about feeling that connection with someone", says Jo. "Anyone who has spent time apart from someone they love knows that - while it's great to talk to them on something like Skype - you don't get that same closeness from a face on a screen. We designed Pillow Talk to give people that feeling that they're somehow closer together, even when they're many miles apart."

Little Riot has designed Pillow Talk to be used by lovers and families, regardless of how far apart they are. The wristband picks up the user's heartbeat and uses a smartphone app to transmit it to a receiver in their loved one's pillow. The device then mimics the sound and pace of the heartbeat, a soothing rhythm that provides loved ones with a far more intimate connection than just email or calls.

Pillow Talk is a unique addition to a wearables market that is booming in 2015. Wearables are hugely popular among people who want to boost their fitness, or discover more about their health. Over 45 million wristbands, bracelets and watches will be shipped in 2015, and that number is being forecast to surge to 126.1m by 2019. While these devices have helped millions improve themselves, Pillow Talk is the first wearable devoted to bringing people closer together.

Joanna first came up with the idea while studying at university. Her first video showcasing the concept struck a chord with separated families around the world, and she quickly built up a waiting list of over 50,000 people. She has since been fine-tuning the technology with the help of the Wayra UK startup accelerator, which is funded by Telefonica.

"Pillow Talk will significantly improve users' ability to explore the digital world by tapping into the unrealised potential of "digital presence". explains Gary Stewart, Director at Wayra UK. "This product meets the needs and wants generated by the ever growing complexity of the digital world by presenting a new and previously unexplored way for humans to interact with technology, creating an immersive experience which currently cannot be matched."

Backers can reserve their Pillow Talk set or secure other rewards by pledging to the Kickstarter campaign.

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