Seoul, South Korea-based startup BrainGear has developed SleePYA, a helmet that uses infrared light to stimulate the brain to improve the quality of sleep.

SleePYA is not a medical device, but a general-purpose electronic system available for anyone. According to a release from the company, wearing the helmet for about 20 minutes helps induce healthy sleep.  

BrainGear is currently planning a pilot project with nursing homes and brain rehabilitation centers in South Korea in the first half of 2024.

“People who suffer from sleep disorders and insomnia usually try to get help by taking sleeping pills or changing pillows and beds,” says Dr Kim Il-Ku in a release. “BrainGear’s SleePYA has a basic mechanism using light to directly stimulate the brain, giving it the advantage of being more proactive than passive approaches to insomnia.”

The company raised 1.8B KRW in funding in 2021 (approximately $1.3M USD) and is currently proceeding with a series A round of about 4B KRW (approximately $3M USD).

“I decided to start my own business with the goal of giving back to society what I’ve learned and experienced,” says Kim in a release. “I started reading about patients and families suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other brain disorders…When I read an article in Science that infrared light can penetrate the brain, I got the idea of phototherapy. I realized that if I could combine the fields I had studied—such as physics, chemistry, and electronics—brain could be also restored as for other injured body parts.” 

After completing ongoing clinical trials, BrainGear’s goal is to acquire marketing authorizations in the USA, Singapore, Australia, and Europe, according to a release from the company. 

Photo caption: SleePYA

Photo credit: BrainGear