Low-energy radio waves stop you drifting off, warn shield inventors
Worried that radiation from the phone by your bed is giving you sleepless nights?
Elvy.ai, a sleep-tech startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has developed a wireless phone charger with a shield that blocks 95 per cent of electromagnetic radiation.
It claims its Elvy Night Charger protects users and promotes peaceful, better-quality sleep, but still lets you use all the phone’s functions.
Scientists know for sure that cell phones generate low-level electromagnetic radiation, known as radio frequency (RF) energy.
They can’t agree on whether or not it’s a health hazard, but millions of ordinary people worry about possible dangers, especially from a phone that’s charging overnight, inches from their head. And many fear it stops them getting a good night’s sleep.
“The crazy thing is, 216 million Americans sleep within reaching distance of their charging phone every night. This is one of the main reasons we sleep badly,” Oded Broshi, CEO and Co-founder tells NoCamels.
His team has developed a charger that allows signals to reach the phone, so it still functions, but blocks radiation from reaching the user.
The idea came from Co-founder Yonatan Manor, a doctor of physical chemistry who was concerned when he saw his wife put her phone to charge on the bedside table.
He teamed up with Broshi, 29, and with Or Harel, 32 – both recent graduates in Business and entrepreneurship at Reichman University, Herzliya – and together they developed the night charger.
After 10 prototypes they now have a device that’s ready for the market, with a patent pending. It looks like a standard wireless phone charger, except you slip the phone behind a soft curved shield, made of “special” – and secret – materials.
There is scientific evidence that says phones are dangerous – the WHO (World Health Organization) and its International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), has, since 2011, classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use”.
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There is also scientific evidence that phones are not dangerous. The FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) guidance, as of 2020, says: “The weight of scientific evidence has not linked exposure to radio frequency energy from cell phone use with any health problems.”
Neither organization specifically addresses the disrupted sleep patterns that concern the Elvy.ai team, who say new, wireless phone chargers – which are increasingly popular – emit four times as much electromagnetic radiation as standard, wired chargers.
“When you really take a deep dive into the science, the effect that electromagnetic radiation has from a charging phone on our sleep is vital,” says Broshi.
“Alpha frequency waves are the brain waves that happen when we’re about to fall asleep.”
Electromagnetic radiation interferes with those waves, he says, and makes it more difficult to drift off to sleep. The result is that in the morning we feel less refreshed.
“Electromagnetic radiation interferes with Alpha frequency waves that occurred during sleep cycles,” he says.
Co-founder Harel, a behavioral analytics profiler, says they haven’t yet done clinical tests to objectively measure the effect their shield has on sleep quality.
But volunteers who have tried it have reacted positively. “They have a better sleep, they feel more relaxed, and they’re always asking me if they can have the charger to keep,” she says.
Elvy.ai says it has seven investors, among them “some of the bigger names in Israel”. It recently completed a funding round, with investment from Arieli Capital. Elvy.ai is a graduate of the 1st cycle of Well4Tech, a bootcamp for health startups led by Arieli and The Bridge Healing center.
The company is also developing products to analyze and improve people’s sleep. The charger, which launches next month, is priced at $60. For skeptics who balk at shelling out that much, Broshi says his product costs no more than a big-brand charger. Even if you’re not convinced by the sleep benefits, you’ve nothing to lose, he says.