British Airlines has filed a patent application for a system that would monitor when a passenger is awake, asleep, hungry, nervous, hot, cold or uncomfortable.
The “system and method for controlling the travel environment for a passenger” encompasses motion-sensing sleep monitors, wearables that track eye movement, heart rate, and temperature, and ingestible health-tracking pills.
The company aims to use the data to optimize a passenger’s environment/experience while flying.
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The American Sleep Apnea Association, Apple and IBM have begun a study about the impact of sleep quality on daily activity level, alertness, productivity, health and medical conditions. iPhone and Apple Watch sensors and the ResearchKit framework collect data from healthy and unhealthy sleepers, which is sent to the Watson Health Cloud.
The SleepHealth app uses the watch’s heart rate monitor to detect sleep, and gathers movement data with its accelerometer and gyroscope. The app includes a “personal sleep concierge” and nap tracker, meant to help users develop better sleeping habits.
Data is stored and analyzed on the Watson Health Cloud, allowing researchers to see common patterns . The long term goal is to develop effective interventions.
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Oura ring is a crowdfunded wearable that monitors heart rate, respiration, temperature, and movement, including time spent sitting. The ceramic ring uses Bluetooth to share data with the accompanying app, which makes activity suggestions to improve sleep. It also provides a “readiness score,” which the company claims alerts a user of his/her peak physical and mental performance times. Oura’s battery lasts for three days, and is charged in its ring box.
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Samsung’s SleepSense measures breathing, heart rate, and movement in real time, without touching the body. The company claims that this monitoring results in a 97% accurate sleep score, delivered to one’s phone.
SleepSense can communicate with a television, audio system, thermostat, and other household devices, to create a favorable sleep environment. TVs can be turned off automatically; room temperature can be adjusted; lights can turned on in the morning; and a coffee maker can be directed to start brewing.
The cloud based system allows remote monitoring of an elderly or disabled loved one (with a mattress sensor) and can receive emergency alerts.
Novelda’s building-integrated “XeThru” sensor modules detect human presence and monitor respiration. Breath rate and depth are measured and tracked in real-time. The use of radio waves, rather than infrared, ultrasound or light, allows the modules to ‘see through’ a variety of objects, including building materials and blankets.
The sensors are intended for hidden, tamper proof, smart home automation. They are tools for allowing seniors to age in place, as breathing abnormalities are observed with out a manual alarm trigger. Sleep abnormalities can also be detected. The system can, of course, also be used for security, and to control climate and lighting.
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Stevens Institute of Technology and Florida State University researchers have developed a sleep monitoring system using earbuds with an in-line microphone plugged into an iPhone. The microphone monitored study participants’ breathing to within half a breath per minute of what could be recorded with a chest-worn respiration monitor and collar clipped microphone. The novelty of the system is the ability to place the earphones on a table next to the bed, making the process much less obtrusive. Ambient noise was filtered out, allowing focus on breathing, snoring and coughing.
Lead researcher Yingying Chen believes that the system will help diagnose health problems, such as sleep apnea. This is typically studied at hospitals, where sensors are attached to a patient’s body and sleep is monitored. Chen believes that it is difficult for doctors to capture irregular patterns in a hospital setting.
The team plans to release a related smartphone app next year.
As fitness tracker features become increasingly similar to those of medical devices, Jawbone will release a powerful, fashionable, sensor based wristband. The UP3 will be stylish, with its Chanel-like quilt pattern and slim form. It will also include multiple temperature and motion sensors, and four electrodes that send electrical signals into wrist tissue. Using bioimpedance analysis, the device measures the resistance of body tissue to electric current, enabling several physiological signals, including heart rate, to be captured.
The band will measure steps taken, calories burned, and resting heart rate, as others do. Sleep will be monitored with a level of precision that differentiates between deep and REM sleep. Future features might include hydration, respiration, stress and fatigue sensing.
Accompanying software will pool data into a program called Smart Coach, which will, for the first time, offer workout and diet tips based on one’s daily activity and sleep analysis.
Entering the digital health market, Nintendo is developing a contactless device to track a user’s sleep and monitor fatigue. It is based on a non-contact radio frequency sensor which measures breathing, heartbeat and body movement.
The company describes the system as five “Non” Sensing elements:
1. “Non-wearable.” Nothing is attached to the body.
2. “Non-contact.” The product will not have any physical contact with the body.
3. “Non-operating.” Not requiring the user to operate the device.
4. “Non-waiting.” Eliminating the wait for measurement results to be produced.
5. “Non-installation efforts.” Not requiring users to install the product to start.
The nightstand based “QOL sensor” receives the data and sends it to Nintendo’s cloud servers. It is analyzed and sent to the user’s smartphone, tablet, Nintendo gaming system or other device. The software advises the user on ways to reduce fatigue.