The recently-released results of a study carried out by researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the University of Colorado have revealed the extent of the sleep deprivation suffered by astronauts over the course of a long-term mission in Earth-orbit. This study and others like it are the result of an increasing effort undertaken by agencies around the world to study the physiological and psychological impacts of a permanent human presence in space.
It is often said that the best design solutions are invisible, but let's be honest, most things are invisible to a sleeping set of eyes. Adapt this philosophy to the development of a sleep tracker
and you'll hopefully have a device that can quietly work away in the background, keeping tabs on your down time and leaving you free of uncomfortable objects beneath the sheets
. Sense is a monitoring system that transmits data to an elegant sphere on your bedside table, which also takes into account the bedroom's environment before providing feedback on your sleeping behavior.
It was just last week that we heard about how researchers from Nottingham Trent University are looking at embedding heart rate sensors in car seats
, to detect when drivers are nodding off. Well, it turns out that they're not the only ones. A consortium of European companies and institutes is developing a similar system known as HARKEN, which uses seat-located sensors to monitor both the driver's heart rate and their rate of respiration.
Falling asleep at the wrong time is apparently a bigger problem than many people may realize. Along with the various systems aimed at keeping drivers awake
, we've also recently seen a headset
and an earpiece
designed to let users know when they're inappropriately drifting off. While those devices have to be worn specifically for that purpose, the Spark takes the form of something you'd have on anyway – a watch.
For generations, the hammock has served as one of the more comfortable ways to relax and sleep outdoors. Though comfy, it's not perfect for everyone. Over the past few years, we've seen a number of tweaks and twists on the classic design, including the Exped Ergo Combi
and Hammock Bliss Sky Bed
. Amok Equipment presents the latest in its first product - a side-roped hammock that sleeps you flat and lets you sit up.
Sleep apnea – it’s noisy, unhealthy and dangerous, and it affects up to 24 percent of men 9 percent of women in the US. Night Shift is a new device designed to help people with sleep apnea and snoring issues. These problems are aggravated by sleeping on the back, so the device, which is worn at the back of the neck, vibrates and prompts wearers to move position.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from various forms of sleep apnea, a condition where the throat passage is blocked during sleep. Further to an immediate inability to breathe, if left untreated the condition can lead to more serious ailments, such as heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Current solutions can be both costly and uncomfortable, but researchers from Australia's CSIRO have developed a 3D-printed mouthpiece that can be personalized for each patient, potentially adding a more practical alternative to the mix.
Driver drowsiness is a major cause of accidents, so it's not surprising that a variety of technologies have been developed for its detection. Most of these systems require the use of prominent hardware such as eye-tracking cameras
, reactive testing devices
, or even Google Glass
. A team from Washington State University Spokane, however, has developed a system that detects drowsy drivers through inexpensive electronics that monitor movement of the steering wheel.
Wearable baby monitors certainly appear an emerging trend, with recent efforts including a bodysuit
packed with sensors and a smart sock
to track your baby's vital signs. Taking yet another approach is US-based inventor Arturas Vaitaitis, whose Monbaby smart button can be attached to any item of clothing to monitor and provide analysis of your baby's sleeping patterns.