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Sleep Sensing Technology could help diagnose Sleep Apnea and Keep Drivers Awake

March 3rd, 2006

Sleep Sensing Technology could help diagnose Sleep Apnea and Keep Drivers Awake

Staying awake while driving

Sleep Apnea patients have to go into a lab to conduct a sleep study.  They have to get wires hooked up to them and it is difficult sometimes to fall asleep, making it hard to get an accurate diagnosis of sleep apnea.  It is also an expensive test because it is in a lab and can take 1-2 sessions to get a diagnosis.  This new technology is using sensors in the mattress, pillow, and clothing to make it more comfortable to be diagnosed with apnea.  The researchers have it connected to a wireless network so that the patient would be able to sleep in their own bed and transfer the sleep data with minimal discomfort.


Other applications for the sensors could for drivers, to make sure that they donít fall asleep while driving.  While we all could use this on a long trip, it would most likely be used to keep drivers of hazardous material awake while driving.  I guess an alarm would go off in the truck while they are driving.  Hopefully they wonít impose electrical shock if you doze off!

A project called SENSATION is a group of 46 partners from 20 different countries that is working on a better way to sense physiological parameters and integrate them into computers for medical and industrial applications.  The goal is to develop a multipurpose sensing platform that has 17 micro sensors and two nano sensors which are connected to a computer network.


"The sensors will allow you to sleep at home on, for instance, a mattress with sensors instead of going to a hospital.  The home is much more comfortable and the test can become more precise.  These tests are costly and since monitoring sleep cannot be done in your home environment they are not as reliable," said Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris, project coordinator.

The project is to integrate the sensors in various bed related items.  Sensors would be in the bed, pillow, textiles, wrist straps, seat linings, and frames in glasses.  There would not be wires attached and would wirelessly communicate to a computer through a network.  The sensors would be able to monitor the brain activity, heart rate, eye and muscle movements.  The data would be collected and sent to the hospital for analysis for diagnosing sleep apnea.


The project is through its first half of funding.  They will begin working on data collection and a database for the sensors which will further help in the development of each type of sensor.

"We have developed something which is truly unique, with two extensive databases of sleep data, one with data of normal sleep with 350 participants and another one with sleep data of 400 people monitored while working or driving, crossing the stage between vigilant to sleep," says Bekiaris. "About half of these people were tested in a driving simulator but the other half was tested driving on highways with double command cars. The tests show a significant difference in the persons reactions, as the persons in the simulator were more calm, knowing they were part of a test, whereas the people on the highways were really fighting sleep."

Driving accidents in the United States are caused by driver fatigue 40% of the time.  The researchers of the SENSATION believe that this technology could reduce serious road accidents by 30% if the technology was used.

The SENSATION technology would measure before the person actually starts to doze off and alert them.  By alerting them before they fall asleep it will get them to become more alert and aware of their safety while driving.

The SENSATION technology could be used in other applications such as for airplane pilots.  They could use the technology for babies to help prevent cot death (SIDS).  It could be helpful technology in many industries.

"We currently have nine sensors ready and plan to present the first sensors and prototypes at the International conference on 'Monitoring sleep and sleepiness - from physiology to new sensors' which will be held in Switzerland 29-30 May 2006," said Bekiaris.

The researchers of the SENSATION project should have a working prototype for sleep apnea studies by the beginning of next year.  It will be interesting to see how this technology develops.

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings:  apnea apnia respironix resmed c-pap arua batery powered cpap autopap backup back-up stroak driving wile faling asleep stay awake when driving sleep study new method technoligy at home sleep study

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM