Fulltime HEL: Episode 9 - Leeluu Labs

Fulltime HEL: Episode 9 - Leeluu Labs

There are a lot of startups out in the world whose purpose is to increase productivity in one form or another. Some like Swipe To Meet, which I showcased on episode 6, aim to reduce the number of emails we send just to organize a meeting, others like Wolt are about saving time finding food. Few startups actually aim to improve our sleep.

Okay, maybe not improve our sleep directly, but enable parents to get a better night sleep.

Welcome to episode 9 of Fulltime HEL, the podcast about startups, entrepreneurs, freelancers and co-working spaces in Helsinki, Finland. I’m your host Gregory Pellechi.

On this episode, Leeluu Labs and their nightlight that’s a toy. Or is it a toy that’s a nightlight. And no I’m not talking about Glo Worm for all those children of the 80s.

Hanna Markgren and Emmi Pouta of Leeluu Labs

Hanna Markgren and Emmi Pouta of Leeluu Labs

That as you can imagine sounds like the something from the future, from science fiction. But think about it, we already have the clapper, we have doors that open automatically for us. We even have cars that park themselves, so why not a nightlight that responds to our touch, and not with some simple switch.

According to Arthur C. Clarke, the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Childhood’s End, any significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. And for a kid what could be more magic than a toy that responds to you.

But it isn’t magic. And it’s not a simple switch or pressure pad like you may find in a Tickle-Me-Elmo. Or any number of stuffed animals that respond to a pressed paw.

Lisa Gerkens and Heini Salovuori of Leeluu Labs

Lisa Gerkens and Heini Salovuori of Leeluu Labs

Smart textiles, rather than placing the wires and other electronics beneath the fabric of the nightlight, are the wires and the chips. There isn’t a separate sensor, it is the sensor. But you’re probably wondering, like I was, why with such awesome technology would you build a toy.

There it is, something comforting, a simple problem with a simple solution. In effect by producing Leeluu nightlight with a smart fabric Heini, Emmi and the rest of the team at Leeluu Labs have a working proof of concept, that smart fabrics are possible and are feasible to produce on a mass scale.

Starting small, with a nightlight is a great idea. It’s an immediate problem that can be remedied and has a large consumer base to market to. Really, what parent wouldn’t buy one to at least try and get a full night’s sleep? I’m sure when I was a child, given the chance my parents would have readily picked one up.

Kids are crazy intuitive. The tactile nature by which they pick up new skills or learn how to operate complex systems means something as simple as Leeluu nightlight is only going to be a gateway to future technology use. Problem is, when you’re a startup like Leeluu labs and you’re getting kids to try out your prototypes the kids don’t get to keep them.

In my six months in Helsinki, I haven’t met that many startup founders with kids or a family, let alone those who are producing not only hardware but hardware geared towards children. So it’s interesting to learn how intimately involved in the process of creation and development the families and friends of the Leeluu Lab team has become. Most founders work crazy hours, but few get to take their work home and engage their family with it.

I know what any parents are thinking listening to this. Great, just another item we’re going to have to cart around or add to the mix just to get our little darling to do something. It’s bad enough she already has a favorite plate, or only drinks from a particular cup. Hell your child may only eat apples and nothing else, but think of it this way. In giving your kid a nightlight that they can control, that they can take with them you’ll be getting up a lot less during the night. Maybe not at all.

How many young parents can claim they’ve gotten a full night’s sleep? Or for that matter remember when they got a full night’s sleep? In their delirium I’m sure they can’t readily remember. But if people are willing to spend money on strollers that cost as much as an SUV, or buy a bottle warmer or any number of other things, can you really say no to such a practical toy and solution like Leeluu nightlights?

Leeluu Labs is set to launch their crowdfunding drive soon, they originally told me October and we’re now in the middle of October so be sure to check out leeluu.fi to purchase your Leeluu nightlight. Otherwise, just watch Leeluu, they are the future. They’re in the process of completing a successful round of fund raising and with a patent for their sensor technology more products can only follow.

Just think about it they could make soft wristbands for smart watches and other fitness trackers. Or they could produce a blanket that provides medical monitoring. Hell spaces suits could be the next thing they make. There’s a lot of potential just from this single technology.

On the next episode of Fulltime HEL, Elffe, those plucky people looking to help and making it easier to do just that.

Fulltime HEL was produced by me, Gregory Pellechi. Music for the show is courtesy of Chris Zabriskie.

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