Apple(s aapl) has reportedly hired an expert on sleep research for its rumored iWatch project, according to 9to5Mac. Roy J.E.M Raymann, from Philips Research, is said to be the latest member of the growing iWatch team.
According to Raymann’s LinkedIn (s LNKD) profile, he’s an expert on “Sleep Research, Ambulatory Monitoring, Psychophysiology, Performance Measures, Thermoregulation, Circadian Physiology and Sleep Enhancement.” He’s had extensive experience with sensors and wearables, as well as non-pharmacological sleep improvement.
Philips Research has confirmed that Raymann left the company as of January 1, but there’s no definitive proof he took a position at Apple. If he did, however, the possibilities for the iWatch are fascinating.
There are plenty of wearables out there that monitor sleep — like the Fitbit Force (see disclosure) and Jawbone UP24 — but none of them are focused on improving it. The Fitbit Force can automatically wake you at an optimal moment in your sleep cycle, but other than that, these devices are strictly for tracking sleep.
It isn’t clear if Apple hired Raymann to bring his expertise in sleep improvement to the iWatch, but it could definitely be a game changer in the wearables space. After all, who doesn’t want to sleep better?
And this report further reinforces the idea that the iWatch will be geared toward activity tracking. Last week 9to5Mac reported that Apple is working on a new “Healthbook” app for iOS 8, which will integrate closely with the iWatch. Healthbook is said to track advanced data like blood pressure and heart rate, so a close look at sleep patterns and how to improve them also makes sense.
Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of Gigaom. Om Malik, founder of Gigaom, is also a venture partner at True.