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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is showing off what he says is a new invention designed to help his wife get a good night’s sleep.
The item, known as a “sleep box,” lets his partner, Priscilla Chan, know whether it’s time to get up by emitting a faint light. In a post on social media Sunday, Zuckerberg explained how the glowing box was developed in response to the couple’s two young children.
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Being a mom is hard, and since we've had kids Priscilla has had a hard time sleeping through the night. She'll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can't fall back asleep. So I worked on building her what I call the "sleep box". It sits on her nightstand, and between the hours of 6-7am it emits a very faint light -- visible enough that if she sees it she'll know it's an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won't wake her up if she's still sleeping. And since it doesn't show the time, if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she knows to just go back to sleep without having to worry about what time it is. So far this has worked better than I expected and she can now sleep through the night. As an engineer, building a device to help my partner sleep better is one of the best ways I can think of to express my love and gratitude. A bunch of my friends have told me they'd want something like this, so I'm putting this out there in case another entrepreneur wants to run with this and build sleep boxes for more people!
A post shared by Mark Zuckerberg (@zuck) on
“Being a mom is hard, and since we’ve had kids Priscilla has had a hard time sleeping through the night,” Zuckerberg wrote. “She’ll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can’t fall back asleep.”
The sleep box attempts to fix that problem by glowing between the hours of 6 and 7 a.m., letting Priscilla “know it’s an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won’t wake her up if she’s still sleeping.”
Zuckerberg also added that since the box doesn’t show what time it is, his wife can simply go back to sleep if she wakes up and does not see any light. “As an engineer, building a device to help my partner sleep better is one of the best ways I can think of to express my love and gratitude,” Zuckerberg added. The 34-year-old Facebook founder noted that he shared the idea online “in case another entrepreneur wants to run with this and build sleep boxes for more people!”
Responses to Zuckerberg’s box were varied. Some praised the tech titan as a “genius.” Others questioned whether the sleep box was even necessary. “I have an idea,” one Instagram user wrote. “Why don’t you watch the time and get out of bed to take care of your children if you are so concerned about your wife’s sleep.” And at least one person found the name sleep box creepy, commenting that they thought the item would be some sort of “coffin.”
Despite Zuckerberg’s alleged revelation, most pointed out that such items appeared to already exist. Users linked to similar products from a wide array of companies. But many were just glad that Zuckerberg wasn’t planning to mass-produce such an item, which would, according to them, undoubtedly invade their privacy.
“This is just another publicity stunt,” an Instagram user said. “It’ll sell for $500 and it includes free privacy invasion for life!”
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.