When Joseph Arrington was a child, he dreaded sleeping. Arrington, a University of Utah graduate student with an MBA, has suffered from various sleeping disorders, like sleep paralysis and sleep terrors, since his youth, and as an adult, he wanted to find a new solution to the parasomnias.
His answer was a company — Beacon Sleep Solutions — and he is developing the idea with a team of other students and support from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
“As a kid, I had always wished that there was a way that someone could wake me up,” he said. “During my early years of college, I was in a physiology class where we were talking about biorhythms during sleep. I started thinking that if you could see the biorhythms of somebody while they sleep, you could see what the biorhythms are when they have an episode, and then you could get something to intercede.”
Arrington started preliminary research on the idea, but hit a major roadblock when the need for an engineer arose.
“I sat on the idea for a few years, and while I was doing my master’s, I realized that there was really something here,” Arrington said.
In 2017, Arrington met Mica Sloan, a BS/MS biomedical engineering candidate at the U, who had engineering and business skills proven in previous startups at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. The team now has three members: Arrington, Sloan, and Pace Cranney, the lead developer and project manager for Beacon and a recent graduate of a master’s of biomedical engineering program at the U.
Together, the team is developing an app, called the Dream Defender, for use on Apple Watches and iPhones that could wake up an individual experiencing what Arrington calls an “episode,” or parasomnia event, such as a sleep terror, sleep paralysis, or sleepwalking. While the app can build a user profile and begin to track and respond to episodes, Beacon Sleep Solutions plans to offer even more.
Learn more about Beacon Sleep Solutions at beaconsleep.com.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2020 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.