Hello's 'Sense' sleep sensor gets voice controls

It will also set the bedroom temperature and dim your Hue lights.

Hello Inc. has launched a new version of its sleep sensor called "Sense with Voice," with the highlight being (wait for it) voice commands. As a reminder, it consists of a sphere-shaped monitor and pill-shaped sensor that attaches to your pillow and detects your movements. Rather than just controlling it with a smartphone as before, you can now say "Okay Sense" to set the alarm, gauge your sleep quality or check environmental factors like the humidity and temperature.

Thanks to a digital microphone array and echo cancellation, the device can hear from anywhere in your bedroom, even if the alarm is sounding. The pill has also been redesigned so that it's easier to attach to your pillow, has longer battery life and is "almost completely indestructible," Hello says. On top of the temperature, light, air quality, humidity and noise detectors, it now measures UV light, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compound, light temperature and barometric pressure, in case you think any of those things actually affect your sleep.

Another new addition is smart home control. The Sense with Voice works with Philips Hue lights and the Nest thermometer, letting you "set your ideal room temperature for when you awake and be gently awoken by your lighting," the company says. It'll integrate with other smart home devices in the future, and Hello says you can control everything via voice commands.

The company launched the original Sense with a successful $2.4 million Kickstarter campaign, backed up by $10.5 million in investor cash. However, some critics found that the core feature of the device -- sleep tracking -- doesn't really work that well, making it a nice, but expensive alarm clock. If the sleeping part is key, you may want to consider a wearable like the Fitbit Blaze or the Withings Aura, which uses a mattress pad to measure your sleep quality.

Whether the updated monitor and new pillow sensor will track your sleep better remains to be seen, but with the new features, the company can nearly justify the $149 price tag. You can now buy the Sense with Voice at the company's website, Amazon, Target and Best Buy stores across the US.