How well we sleep makes a big difference to our cardiovascular health, emotional state, and overall well being. Knowing whether the sleep we’re getting is of high quality, and how to improve it, can be very useful to a large chunk of the population. Engineers at University of Massachusetts, Amherst have now developed a pajama shirt, integrated with pressure sensors, that is able to detect a person’s heart beat, breathing, and sleeping posture.
The device continuously monitors the three parameters and sends its readings via Bluetooth to a nearby smartphone or other device. The data can be examined in detail during waking hours and shared with one’s doctor. Such data can help people understand why they’re not getting optimal sleep and what they can do to improve it.
The pressure sensors are placed around the torso and they’re powered by a fiber-based supercapacitor. There’s enough available charge to last for eight hours of sensing and sharing of the data via Blueetooth. The system is flexible and, thanks to reactive vapor depositioning, remains flat against the shirt, which retains the feel of a normal, non-electronic attire.
“We had to inconspicuously integrate sensing elements and portable power sources into everyday garments, while maintaining the weight, feel, comfort, function and ruggedness of familiar clothes and fabrics,” in a statement said Trisha L. Andrew, the senior scientist on the project. “We also worked with computer scientists and electrical engineers to process the myriad signals coming from the sensors so that we had clear and easy-to-understand information.”
Here’s a quick demo of the technology:
Here’s a more complete presentation about the technology given to journalists at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting going on in Orlando, Florida this week: