A Nightshirt to Monitor SleepBy Singer, Emily; Technology Review,
Publication Date: May 23, 2011
Article features a smart shirt that detects the wearer’s stages of sleep via respiration patterns. Developed by scientists including a sleep neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Somnus is a t-shirt embedded with fabric electronics to monitor the wearer’s breathing. A small chip worn in a pocket of the shirt processes the data to determine phase of sleep including light and deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the stage during which we dream. Unlike equipment used to detect sleep disorders in sleep labs, a complex array of sensors that monitor brain and muscle activity, eye movement, and heart and breathing rates, the Somnus focuses only on respiration. During REM sleep, the respiratory pattern is irregular, while breathing during deep sleep follows an ordered pattern and lighter stages of non-REM sleep fall somewhere in between. The purpose of the shirt is to allow repeated sleep pattern measurements over time in the home. Users with insomnia can log their habits, such as coffee or alcohol intake, exercise, or stress, and look for patterns in how those variables affect the quality of their sleep. A commercial version of the Somnus is expected to be available by summer of 2012 for less than 100 dollars. The article includes a 4.5 minute video demonstrating the shirt.
Published by: Technology Review, Inc. (Website:http://www.technologyreview.com)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Web Site: http://www.mit.edu )
Link to text: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/37606/
Link to audio: http://www.audiodizer.com/technologyreview/biomedicine/37606.mp3