CES 2020 Preview: This Smart Alarm Clock Helps Parents and Kids Get More Zzzs

Published on January 4, 2020

CES 2020 exhibitor Derek Ostler hopes his product Pali™ can help parents overcome a common parenting challenge: Sleep training. At the annual Las Vegas consumer tech trade show, which takes place Tuesday January 7 and goes to Friday January 10, Ostler will demonstrate how his newest “smart sleep training clock” can help kids sleep and wake up at the right times.

Grit Daily spoke with Ostler ahead of the event’s kick-off. 

“This product helps kids to set a schedule and be happy to comply with it,” Ostler shared with us. “They get more sleep and are happier throughout the day. They can understand when it’s time to sleep and play.”

How It Works

The Pali Bedtime Buddy has a compact, white, cartoon-character-like shape, with dimensions of 5.5” x 5.5” x 4.0”. It has a large, round, smiling clock face; two rounded ears; and feet.

And when it’s bedtime, Pali goes to sleep, too, with its digital eyes closed.

The Clock Face

The 9-ounce device uses facial expressions, changing colors, and a visual countdown timer in the form of digital tic marks circling the clock face, which gradually diminish as it nears set sleep or wake times. When the countdown finishes, the clock face lights up with a colored ring around it, and Pali’s expression wakes up or goes to sleep accordingly. It can countdown for bedtime, nap time, playtime, or wake time.

The Best Part: The Reward Drawer

Also, a small reward drawer in the back unlocks when the set wake time arrives — giving children a fun incentive for sleeping through the night and waiting until Pali wakes up. Parents can put stickers, candy, or other small treats in the drawer.

The Mobile App

They can use the free Pali smartphone app via the Google Play and Apple App Stores to choose settings for the device, including connecting via Bluetooth. In addition to choosing Pali’s schedule, users can customize other aspects through the app.

For instance, they can choose from more than 10 night light colors, adjust screen brightness, program the sound machine, and set volume levels.

Sound Machine

For the sound machine, which gives the option of playing soothing sounds — like white noise, rain sounds, or Lullaby music — parents can have it on at certain times or continuously through the night. The sound machine can be set through the clock itself, as well.

The unit also has a rechargeable battery, detachable micro USB, and power cord.

But How Did He Think of This?

Ostler and his wife Ashley, co-founders of the startup “Happy Tykes,” used to continuously lose sleep due to their young daughter waking up at around 5 a.m. and not going back to bed. They tried several sleep trainers but couldn’t find one with long-term effectiveness.

One day, while Ostler was watching a Netflix show with his daughter before bed, he noticed her attentiveness towards the progress bar on the screen, which indicated when the show was over. That sparked his idea of adding a visual timer to a sleep trainer. And thus, the Ostlers found inspiration for a reward system after reading books and articles on positive parenting.

They brought their ideas to life by creating a working prototype of a sleep trainer with a visual timer and reward system. After testing it on their daughter, they found that she went from waking up at 5 a.m. to sleeping until after 7 a.m.

After an extensive R&D phase, the Ostlers found a manufacturer in China to help build a more polished prototype. They received a patent in October 2019.

According to Derek, both their daughter and young son now enjoy Pali and have shown great results from using it. And, he said family and friends who have tried Pali with their kids have seen significant improvements.

What Else is Out There?

The husband-wife duo believe they have set themselves apart from their competitors in a strong way. Derek described their niche as having more than 10 sleep training competitors, but with only a couple integrating smart tech, and none using visual timers or the reward box concept.

Their Kickstarter Campaign

So far, they have relied on bootstrapping. But, they plan to start a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in February. They have a goal of raising more than $50,000, which will aid them in placing their first large order of devices.

Happy Tykes currently has a waitlist on their site. It allows people to receive alerts about the crowdfunding campaign, including opening dates, discounts, and freebies.

They plan on selling Pali for $69-$79, with Kickstarter supporters having access to discounted prices of $39-$49.

CES 2020: No Sleep For the Startup

The Ostlers have never exhibited Pali at trade shows or conferences. For CES 2020, they’ll be stationed at booth # 51313. And, they’re looking forward to what lies ahead at the largest tech trade show in the world.

We are excited about CES. We have never attended and have only read about it previously,” Derek said. “We hope to gain some great contacts and press that can help us grow our company and spread the word about our great new product.”

For more information on Pali, visit https://www.happytykes.com/

Jenni Choi is a Columnist at Grit Daily based in Austin, Texas. Her reporting focuses on social enterprise, social impact tech, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in media & entertainment. She founded the mission-driven company Moving The Needle LLC  to help increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in media & entertainment. She previously wrote for The Baltimore Sun and The Baltimore Sun Media Group. Afterward she completed an M.S. in Social Work (concentrating on social enterprise and international social welfare) at Columbia University, fulfilled her dream of moving to the West Coast, and worked in communications and fundraising for nonprofits, before transitioning to the tech world. She helped launch the Women Techmakers membership program, part of Google's global initiative to empower women in tech and consulted for early stage startups. Jenni also enjoys serving as an advisor for the nonprofits Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) and Global People's Summit.

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