Category Archives: Sleep

UP3 – fitness tracker or medical monitor?


 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.

Contactless sleep and fatigue sensor


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.

Biometric shirt monitors astronaut vital signs


Astroskin is a  prototype medical monitoring shirt and headband for astronauts that could be used to continuously monitor patients. Its sensors record and analyze the wearer’s vital signs, sleep quality and activity level. Data is relayed to medical teams on the ground to monitor a crew member’s health, behavior and performance during daily operations and exercise, or to monitor sick or injured astronauts.  It is a refined version of Hexoskin, the commercially available biometric shirt for sports performance, sleep, and health tracking.  

Both shirts contain embedded sensors to measure vital signs and activity. An electrocardiograph measures heart rate and heart rate variability, and plethysmography sensors assess breathing rate and respiration volume by torso shape changes. Calories burned are calculated based on that heart rate and respiration data. An accelerometer tracks steps and the number of steps per minute. A user’s “sleep-efficiency score” is determined by movement, heart rate, and respiration through the night.  A small device in a pocket does preliminary data processing and sends the information to a user’s smartphone and to  Carré Technologies servers for analysis.

Astroskin was recently tested on a one month trek in Antarctica led by Alexandre Byette.

Wearables become beautiful (just in time for Mother’s Day)


The Misfit Bloom is a stylish pendant with the same health sensing technology as a fitness band.

Shine sensor, originally crowdfunded on Indiegogo, is seamlessly integrated into the necklace, providing continuous monitoring of a user’s steps, calories and sleep.

As health monitoring becomes ubiquitous, ApplySci believes that the number of fashion forward wearable devices will steadily increase.

Update: Samsung increases health applications with Gear 2 watch, Gear Fit, Galaxy S5


Samsung has updated its devices as it tries to establish dominance in the health and fitness tracking market.

Its Gear 2 watch is now based on Samsung’s Tizen operating system rather than Android. It includes an accelerometer and gyroscope – capable of acting as a pedometer and an optical heart rate monitor. This allows the watch to integrate with Samsung’s health and fitness tracking applications, replacing the need for additional tracking gadgets.  Its various tools will measure exercise, sleep and stress levels.

Apple is expected to release a smartwatch in the near future with a strong focus on fitness and health tracking, as well as a “Healthbook” application for its next iteration of its iOS iPhone and iPad software.

The Gear Fit band tracks movement, heart rate and sleep patterns. It is water-resistant and includes phone notifications, a timer, stopwatch and a curved OLED screen.

The Galaxy S5 smartphone features an enhanced S Health 3.0 app, a comprehensive personal fitness tracker, a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a built-in heart rate monitor. It will pair seamlessly with the next generation Gear products for real-time fitness coaching.

Nerve stimulation for sleep apnea


Current sleep apnea treatments are intrusive and uncomfortable. University of Pittsburgh Professor Patrick J. Strollo has developed a  “pulse generator” which, when surgically implanted, senses one’s effort to breath.  It then sends pulse stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve, controlling the neck muscles that keep the airway open, preventing collapse.

Standard treatment for sleep apnea is a device called a CPAP. It is a machine that applies air pressure through a mask, which, if worn while sleeping, keeps the airway open. Many people find the masks bulky and uncomfortable, choosing instead to leave their apnea untreated.

Baby onesie tracks breathing, sleep, movement, temperature


Sensor based baby monitoring is receiving a lot of exposure at CES.  One such monitor, by Mimo baby, includes three parts: the Kimono, the Turtle and the Lilypad station. The Kimono is a cotton onesie, with machine washable sensors, worn by a baby when sleeping. It houses the Turtle, which tracks a baby’s respiration, skin temperature, body position and activity levels. The Turtle conveys the information via Bluetooth to the base station, called Lilypad, in the baby’s sleep room. The Lilypad is connected to the home Wi-Fi network.  It processes the information and transmits it to a smartphone app.

Home medical device data uploaded to EHRs; patient participation encourages behavior modification


Boston’s Partners HealthCare has launched a system that allows patients to upload information from their medical devices directly to their electronic records in doctors’ offices.  Patients can regularly use glucometers, blood pressure cuffs, bathroom scales, and pulse oximeters at home, and send the data to their doctors.  Doctors are also becoming increasingly interested in eating habit, movement, and sleep data collected by patients using consumer health-tracking devices.

A recent study by the company showed a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure among participants who both took their readings and uploaded them to a web interface where they could track and monitor their progress.