"Smart" pajamas offer new insights into sleep patterns



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Researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have developed in-built pajamas with self-powered sensors that provide continuous and discreet monitoring of heart rate, breathing, and sleep posture – an "intelligent" piece that can help improve sleep patterns.

Known as & # 39; Phymama & # 39 ;, The shirt can be used to monitor the quality of sleep of the user, such as the amount of REM sleep that is occurring, occurring at intervals at night and is characterized by rapid eye movements , dreams and body movements. or if they have breathing problems at night.

Five light sensors are sewn into the jacket liner. Four of them detect constant pressure, like that of a body pressed against a bed. The fifth, positioned on the chest, detects rapid changes of pressure, providing information on heart rate and breathing.

The sensors are connected by wires made of finely coated wires in silver. "They're sewn into the seams of your shirt so you do not see them," said Trisha Andrew, director of UMass Amherst's Wearable Electronics Lab.

Signs collected from the five patches are sent to a small circuit board that looks and works like a button on ordinary pajamas. The button has an integrated Bluetooth transmitter that sends the wireless data to a computer for analysis.

The sensors are connected by wires made of finely-coated silver wires so that they are completely undetectable to the user

Image Credit: Trisha L Andrew / SWNS.COM

"Intelligent clothing with self-powered sensors can revolutionize the monitoring of human behavior by taking advantage of everyday clothing as a detection substrate," Andrew said.

"Our smart pajamas have overcome numerous technical challenges," she added. "We had to discreetly integrate sensory elements and portable energy sources into daily wear while maintaining the weight, feel, comfort, function and robustness of our familiar clothing and fabrics.

"We also worked with computer scientists and electrical engineers to process the many signals coming from the sensors, so that we had clear and easy-to-understand information."

According to the US National Institutes of Health, getting enough sleep can help protect people against stress, infections and various diseases such as heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Previous studies have found that sleep quality also increases mental acuity and increases decision-making ability. However, most people do not get enough sleep, or the right kind.

Some smart mattress manufacturers claim that products can feel movement and infer sleep posture. However, these mattresses do not provide detailed information of the sleeper and are not portable for travel.

To overcome this, commercially available electronic bands such as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch used on the wrist provide information about heart rate and monitor the total amount of sleep that the user acquires.

The UMass Amherst team, however, is developing its own solutions.

"We use reactive vapor coating to transform prefabricated fabrics, yarns or garments commonly available into a multitude of comfortably usable electronic devices," explained Dr. Andrew.

Signs collected from the five patches are sent to a small circuit board that looks and works like a regular button

Image credit: Trisha L Andrew

These first-of-its-kind patches are used on different parts of the pajamas, so that the researcher scans determine the sleeping posture. In addition, the patches detect rapid changes in pressure, such as the physical pumping of the heart, which provides information about heart rate, the first time such a sensor detects tiny signals of the heart.

The pajama shirt is still in its early stages and was tested at night in only eight people. In addition, the team is still in the process of ensuring that the sensors are accurate to a variety of shapes and heights of the body.

Andrew says the shirt still can not be used to diagnose medical problems, but the goal is eventually to replace laboratory-based sleep studies, where participants are linked to several machines at night, wearing pajamas as an alternative to testing.

The technology is being expanded to portable electronic sensors that detect gait and send feedback to a monitor to help prevent falls in residents living in nursing homes and sheltered accommodations.

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