This Small Radar Device Can Track Your Sleeping Patterns

By Annalee Newitz on at

In our quest for ever-better sleep trackers, we may have to turn to an older technology for results.

If you’ve ever gone to a sleep lab, you know you have to get annoying EEG sensors stuck all over your body, attached to wires. Even if you’re just trying to use a simple Fitbit to track sleep, you have to wear the thing all night long, which can get awkward and uncomfortable. That’s why the team of researchers who created the DoppleSleep (pictured) wanted to create a bedside technology that would track sleeping patterns.

What they discovered was that simple radar sensor tech placed a few feet from a sleeping test subject could determine whether the person was asleep, and even whether they were dreaming, with up to 90 per cent accuracy. The sensor can pick up how much the person is moving, plus their breathing and heart rate. That data gets sent via Bluetooth to an app that quickly analyses it and determines what kind of sleep the person is experiencing.

Over at Technology Review, Rachel Metz describes how it works:

DoppleSleep operates on the same principle as the radar cops use to catch speeding drivers: its transceiver tracks the phase changes in electromagnetic waves that reflect off the sleeping person, but in this case the information is used to monitor their movements. This data is sent to a smartphone app that uses algorithms to estimate heart and breathing rates, detect changes in position, and determine which of the two main types of sleep a person is experiencing.

The system can also track things like how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you sleep overall, and how many times you wake up.

The data could help doctors diagnose sleep disorders, but for the rest of us the DoppleSleep might serve as a more comfortable way to monitor our own sleep patterns. [via Technology Review]