In this blog’s recent exploration of the recent boom in personal sleep technology, we ran across a lot of items that we’d never known existed… or old-school items related to sleep that have since been remade with technological features.
Who knew mattresses and pillows would become a competitor in the field of health technology?
- Beautyrest now offers a standalone sleep tracker incorporates artificial intelligence technology that can be used with any mattress, according to a Feb 23 article in Furniture Today.
- The Dreampad therapeutic pillow (Techaeris, Feb 24) uses sound waves that could not only to improve sleep but provide relief for several other medical conditions.
- The ZEEQ Smart Pillow is a snore-prevention pillow that awakens you when you snore; it also provides relaxing music to help promote sleep and an app to record sleep data (c|net, Jan 2017)
- Reader’s Digest offers this broad review of “smart pillows” now saturating the market. (Feb 16)
Sleep apnea is something that’s typically monitored through the use of a positive airway pressure delivery system such as CPAP. However, some apps are being developed to help identify and diagnose underlying cases of the sleep breathing disorder.
- The Algemeiner (Jan 11) reports that Israeli researchers are in the process of developing a smartphone app to actually diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, which could be as accurate as home sleep apnea tests currently are in identifying the presence of the condition. According to Sleep Review (Jan 18), “Researchers have tested the new speech and breathing sound analysis systems on more than 350 subjects, along with PSG, in laboratory and at-home settings. They were able to reliably evaluate sleep quality parameters such as sleep-wake activity, snoring severity and OSA using this system.”
Fitness wearables have given birth to new generations of sleep wearables which have also given birth to a whole new category of health-related wearables that can assist in tracking other medical concerns.
- Pharmiweb (Feb 23) published a press release describing how soon-to-be released research using the Apple Watch has uncovered a way for wearable technology to track seizures in people with epilepsy who often suffer these due to sleep deprivation.
- The Rest-Rite Sleep Positioner® featured in a Feb 22 press release in Yahoo! Finance is not only useful for people trying out “old school” positional therapy, but could be a boon for use among patients having medical procedures where posture is critical (such as surgery or a spinal tap).
- R&D Magazine (Feb 25) reported on new tracking technology that uses sleep metrics to help chart a course for Alzheimer’s research.
Sleep technology has also been extended into interesting applications focused on dreaming.
- Last fall, the Science of Us blog (Oct 12, 2016) ran a comprehensive feature highlighting several dream tracking technologies, such as Aurora Dreamband, iWinks, LucidCatcher, Lucid Dreamer, and Remee.
- Tom’s Reviews features a number of sleep apps in this Dec 29, 2016 post, including an intriguing lucid dreaming training app called Awoken.
Parents can now use sleep technology to track their childrens’ bedtime to waketime activities, as well.
- Japanese high schoolers have developed a smartphone alarm that purports to stop crib death by tracking a baby’s body position, Asahi Shimbun reported Feb 5.
- The Dozer is a cuddly soft sheep toy with movement sensors, a music-delivery system, and recorder designed to capture your child’s nighttime sleeping patterns (EFTM, Jan 7)
- A new device using radar to track infant sleep and respiration called Raybaby launched a Kickstarter campaign in January that runs through mid-March, according to a PRWeb press release from Jan 31.
- The blog, Precious Little Sleep, covers the growing (and lucrative) market of infant wearables in this Feb 16 post.
- Sarah Kovac reviews the HugOne sleep tracking device that’s built so parents can track their kids’ sleep in PC (Feb 17).
New sleep technology has also been tested for help in identifying drowsy drivers while they are behind the wheel.
- The Daily Mail reported (Feb 12) on new eyewear in development that police in the future could require drivers to wear if suspected of driving while fatigued. Equipped with sensors and recording devices, these glasses would be used on the spot to “measure fatigue levels by tracking eye movements, such as the duration of blinks and how eyes scan the road,” and would be the first time a scientific method has been enlisted to test for drowsy driving.
- Driverless cars are still a controversial subject, but the intention behind the technology is solid: prevent major accidents caused by driver fatigue. The Bend Bulletin (Feb 17) reports on radical new efforts by Ford Motor Company to remove human error from the product development equation, as they discovered testing driverless cars made their research engineers sleepy.
And who knew a sleep app could become part of crucial evidence in a sexual assault case? The Daily Echo reports this was the case in a criminal trial in the UK they reported on last July. The victim’s (unnamed) sleep app, which is designed to monitor and record snoring and sleep-talking, automatically began recording the sounds created by the assailant, according to reports from prosecutor Eloise Marshall. “It’s plain from the recordings that at the time the sexual assaults are taking place he’s hurting her, she doesn’t want him to carry out those acts,” she said.