Fully equipped quilt
–Improve your sleep with new media and communication technology
Explosion of information and advance of technology boost our life into a faster paced mode than ever before. This fast paced life increases the productivity of the whole society, but at the same time, brings healthy problems to an increasing number of individuals.
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Sleeping is one of the most important aspect of our daily life, as well as a critical period for fixing the damage we have done to our bodies in the daytime. However, more and more people are losing their sleeping due to the pressure comes from outside world, leading to a vicious circle to their health. The product, a quilt, introduced in this article will be devoted to improving sleep and health conditions of the group of people who have sleep disorders and potential health problems. It will make use of the known facts of health indicators and existing technologies to inform the current health condition of the user and help with getting better experience in sleeping.
Health Indicator Detector
There are many things that people will use every day, the one with the longest consecutive using period is our quilt. The quilt I design takes advantage of this characteristics, making use of touch-skin sensors to detect and monitor user’s health indicators in a quiet and precise way.
One of the basic functions of this part is measuring body temperature. Traditional mercury thermometer will not be used, instead of it, infrared thermometer will be a better way to go. An infrared thermometer is a thermometer which indicates temperature from a part of the thermal radiation emitted by the object being measured. It can be used to help aim the thermometer, to describe the device’s ability to measure temperature in a certain distance. By knowing the amount of infrared energy emitted by the object and its emissivity, the object’s temperature can often be determined (Infrared Thermometer).
Another basic function for this part is measuring heartbeat. Since the heartbeat’s contraction is equal to the pulse, which is how many times a minute, our arteries expand because of the increase in blood pressure originated by our heartbeat. So the heartbeat is a very vital health parameter that is directly related to the soundness of the human cardiovascular system (Microcontroller Measures).
The microcontroller, fingertip will be used for measuring heartbeat. Heartbeat will pump the blood go through the body and that makes the blood volume inside the finger artery to change too. This fluctuation can be used on an optical sensing mechanism to put on the fingertip. The signal can also be used in this microcontroller to calculate the volatility, it is actually in the heart rate is magnified.
Both these heartbeat measuring machine and infrared thermometer two devices will be placed in a Wi-Fi environment, and the data which is collected from the user will be transmitted to the personal computer. Users can set a certain indicator, if the data exceeds the normal values, it will warning the user to go to the hospital to check their body whether they have health problems or not.
Wireless Sleeping Respiration Monitor
To achieve the goal of monitoring users’ respiration while sleeping, respiration sound sensor will be needed for the quilt. In addition, after detecting sleeping hazards like respiration arrest or sleep apnea, vibrate module hidden inside of the quilt will function to wake up the user to prevent further risk.
The whole system consists of three major parts, monitoring and data collection device, wireless communication devices and vibrating wake-up device. Monitoring and data collection device, as known as respiration sound sensor, will sense the user’s respiration sound, reduce the noise, amplify and digitalize the signal and pass it to wireless communication module. Wireless communication device will take over the collected data, encapsulate it and then send it via either Wi-Fi connection or Bluetooth connection. Those connections are connected with a device with data processing power, our smartphones will easily serve the purpose. After processing the received data, the data processing device will inform the vibration unit whether it needs to wake up the user based on the result comparing to the data in an online database. If the vibration module receives the signal to wake up the user, it will send pulse vibration to user’s body to wake them up.
The significance of the advantage is that sensors could be close to user’s nose and mouth to collect much better and precise data without interrupting or hindering the proper sleeping process. It improved the user experience by a remarkable amount from head-wearing devices with similar functions. In addition, the data is amplified and sent to user’s smartphone, a hand-held device, which increases the scalability. We could achieve more usage of the existing sensors by programming the applications on those hand-held devices, and keep them working properly and even better by distributing software/firmware updates over the internet. What if the computing devices is installed into the quilt? Users will feel hard to fall asleep because it is too heavy, and there could be hazards when the computing unit overheats over a period of intensive data processing. So using external hand-held device reduces the total weight and potential hazard of the quilt and in the meantime increases the processing power and stability (Patent).
Sleep Monitoring System
There is no doubt for the importance of sleeping, but because of the quick paced and high pressure environment, we cannot have a good sleep, which will threaten our health. But with the development of advanced technology, we can use it to trace our sleeping status, to find the problems and solve it, in order to improve our sleeping quality.
There are many applications exist on the phone, like in IOS platform, in the Android system and in the Windows Phone. The principle for smartphones and applications to monitor the sleep status are similar. They place an accelerometer in the phone to sense your action like turn over while you sleeping, in order to determine the depth of sleep. Of course, compare to the professional equipment, the monitor of mobile phones is not that much accurate, but the cost is much lower than other equipment. However, studies show that the radiation phone emit will affect the quality of our sleep. According to the working principle of the smartphone, an accelerometer can also be placed in the quilt, it will percept the user’s motion during sleep more precisely. There will also a small microphone in the quilt, it can record user’s fudge while their sleeping. Like I mentioned in the Health Indicator Detector, the recorder is also connected with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, transmitted to the personal computer or application on the smartphone.
Besides this, tiny speaker can also be placed with the microphone, since the system can be connected with the personal computer, user can play some white noise in the speaker, which can be used to block snoring and other unwanted sounds, leading to deeper, more restful sleep (White Noise). When the system find out the user enter a deep sleep, it will pause playing the white noise.
This system can be used by anyone who even has little knowledge of scientific facts about sleeping or biology to easily track their status of sleeping. Reports could also be generated for a day, a week or a month based on the stored data in the personal computing device. It is really helpful for users to figure out what the trend of sleeping quality is like, either becoming better or worse. Additionally, the reports could be used for consulting doctors and physicians for what they need to improve their sleeping.
This quilt is not a product with totally new media or communication technology. It is a practical product with many existing technologies to provide an innovative service, and all the technologies used in this product have been used in years and are very mature in the market. However, products that can provide the similar convenience as the quilt does haven’t been found yet. Tossing and turning will not be a huge obstacle anymore for them to fall asleep with the help of white noise. Potential health hazards could also be found out be various monitoring system and data analyzing device. We can imagine that if this quilt arrives in store, it could save an enormous group of people with sleeping problems and using the media and communication technology to serve people, to help them feel better when the night comes.
“Infrared Thermometer.”Infrared Thermometer. OMEGA Engineering Inc., 1999. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
“Microcontroller Measures Heart Rate through Fingertip.”Instructables.com. Instructables, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
“White Noise Benefits and Uses.”White Noise Cds.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.”Patent CN102860840A – Wireless Sleeping Respiration Monitor.”Google Books. Ed.
Yujuan Quan, Qingnan Liu, Lei Wang, and Deming Chen. Google Patents, 09 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.