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Smart Pajamas Monitor Patients With Sleep Disorder 42

Hugh Pickens writes "Emily Singer reports in MIT Technology Review that a nightshirt embedded with fabric electronics can monitor user's breathing patterns while a small chip worn in a pocket of the shirt processes that data to determine the phase of sleep, such as REM sleep (when we dream), light sleep, or deep sleep. 'It has no adhesive and doesn't need any special setup to wear,' says Matt Bianchi, a sleep neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-inventor of the shirt. 'It's very easy—you just slip it on at night.' Until now people with sleep disorders were hooked up to a complex array of sensors that monitor brain activity, muscle activity, eye movement, and heart and breathing rate but the 'smart pajamas' simplify this by focusing only on respiration. 'It turns out that you can tell if someone is awake or asleep and which stage of sleep they are in purely based on breathing pattern,' says Bianchi. 'That's a much easier signal to analyze than electrical activity from the brain.' Sleep specialists hope the pj's can help patients with insomnia or other sleep disorders since the shirt allows repeated measurements over time in the home so users can log their habits, such as coffee or alcohol intake, exercise, or stress, and look for patterns in how those variables affect their quality of sleep."


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Smart Pajamas Monitor Patients With Sleep Disorder

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  • H'mm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Monday May 23, 2011 @10:01AM (#36216956)

    If it can tell if someone is awake or asleep it should have wider application in workplace uniforms.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @10:15AM (#36217098)

    Sleep Cycle [mdlabs.se] for the iOS does something similar. The alarm clock function to wake you up 'on cycle' is definitely worth the $0.99

    • That's pretty neat. Anybody know of something similar that works with less robust (expensive) hardware?

      This [datasingularity.com] looks like a good start with an Arduino/accelerometer.

      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        Lilypad [sparkfun.com].

      • The TI Chronos watch has a TI MSP430 microprocessor development system built into the wristwatch, with RF link, accelerometers, temperature gauge, and other tools, for $50. (The RF link goes to a USB frob you plug into your PC.) You can also link up to a heart-rate sensor belt. I haven't gotten around to using the accelerometer app as a sleep sensor, but that's on my "stuff I plan to do" list.
        MSP430 is the same microprocessor family in TI's Launchpad development board (sold for $4.30.) It's not quite a

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      Wont work for me, I sleep as if I was an acrobat on a trampoline. that phone would be on the floor in the first hour.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Being someone who has been diagnosed with narcolepsy, this would have been so much nicer but you can't get nearly as much data. If you want to tell what stage of sleep someone is in, that's fine, but if you want to diagnose someone, you need to test for everything. I was certainly tested for everything even though I knew what I had based on symptoms (such as falling asleep during SATs despite 6 energy drinks, traffic lights, and talking/listening to people).

    Data taken from one source isn't enough to test

    • I don't think it's meant as a total diagnosis ... just something to help in treatment once the problem's been identified.

      Although, I'd love for better diagnostics stuff .... waking up with goop in my hair and wires wrapped around my neck wasn't my idea of a good time. (how that didn't set off some alarm, and no one noticed, I have no idea)

    • by snookerhog ( 1835110 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @12:47PM (#36218850)
      While I don't really question the results of my own sleep diagnosis, I certainly question the methods. One nights sleep at the diagnostic center is really just one data point. From a purely statistical perspective, this is already lame. Add to that the stress of having to do the test with a strange bed and all the wires and you would seemingly have a recipe for disaster. Yet somehow, it does kinda work out for some people. I agree that having some sort of cheap, easy home monitoring device that is not decades behind in sensor and transmitter tech would be really nice.
    • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

      My husband suffers from extreme apnea and was thought to maybe suffer from narcolepsy as well. He spent a week in hospital with sensors stuck on his head where they did a sleep deprivation test on him while trying to establish why he had random fits, seizures and blackouts.

      The worst bit, other than when he start hallucinating, was getting the 'glue' out of his hair when he got home.

  • If you add a LilyPad Arduino to a pajama, then of course you won't be able to sleep well. Those PCB's aren't soft.

  • Having had to deal with a normal sleep study, where something like 26 electrodes were attached to various portions of my head, chest and legs, this seems like a step in the right direction.
    • The technology to replace the sleep lab isn't there yet. I've been using a Zeo Personal Sleep Coach [myzeo.com] for a while now, and it's pretty impressive. It's not anywhere near good enough to replace a sleep lab, but if you've already eliminated the possibilities that require more granularity it's great for training a person to sleep better.

  • Why is anything that gets electronics embedded into it suddenly called "Smart"? It's a bunch of sensors sewn into PJs.

    IBM's Watson approaches "smart". Electronics are actually pretty dumb.

  • I have trouble sleeping with a shirt on. I tend to move around at night and end up getting a shirt-wedgie if I wear one.

    Also, I get warm at night. According to my wife I become "the temperature of a thousand suns." I don't see adding layers of clothing as helpful to my ability to sleep "normal."

  • Good idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pen420 ( 1117851 ) on Monday May 23, 2011 @01:52PM (#36219656)
    This isn't foolproof. I meditate and can relax myself to the point of machines that detect breathing patterns will say I am asleep but I am wide awake and totally aware of my surroundings. It is a nice step in the right direction though!
  • Baby monitors are pretty useless - they only tell you when the bub is making noise and if they're making noise, they're still alive! :) It's when the little buggers are quiet you have to worry. There are mattress pads that can monitor their breathing but if they roll off the pad you'd probably have a minor coronary as you rushed into the room only to find the tot curled up at the far end of the cot. A little pair of smart pj's though ... what a great idea! Bub stops breathing - alarm goes off! I'd pay $10
  • someone who is naive tend to never share one's wearings to other without being washed. undershirts tend to smell if unwashed and put on several times. they should be washed. this new equipment is able to washing or not?

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre