Frankly, it sounds terrifying to me to be pawed in the face by a stuffed robotic polar bear while I sleep*. It's no nightmare though. Japanese engineers have developed the bear — named Jukusui-kun (or "deep sleep") — to gently prod chronic snorers and induce them to change their sleeping position to alleviate the snores.
Jukusui looks sweet and soft, but under the surface it has a complex system to monitor its charges as they sleep. The bear is connected to a fuzzy little glove worn by the sleeper measuring pulse-oxygen levels; sensors under the sheets and a microphone in the bear monitor noise and decibel levels. The user's vitals are entered as a baseline into a terminal, connected wirelessly to the bear.
When the snoring gets too loud or a dangerous disruption in breathing (such as sleep apnea) occurs, the bear senses both the noise and changes in one's blood oxygen saturation. Then, like a superhero of sleep, Jukusui springs slowly into action and lands a paw to the face.
While the subject of jokes (and sometimes marital strife), snoring and sleep apnea are legitimate health concerns. Two million people in Japan alone suffer from some form of these conditions so it's easy to see why they're tackling this issue. Those with disruption in sleep from snoring and sleep apnea suffer exhaustion, inattention and are prone to other health concerns over time.
The bear was developed at Tokyo's Waseda University and introduced to the world at the International Robot Show. No word on how a giant moving polar bear might affect the sleep of the person lying next to it, but we welcome Jukusui-kun nevertheless!
*For the record I would NEVER snore.