Wireless flexible sensor could be the future of sleep diagnostics – in and outside of geriatric care centers


Sleep Health | Sleep Review

A study to diagnose and monitor sleep disorders is being conducted using sensor technology developed at RMIT University. It is part of a new partnership between Australian research and technology company Sleeptite, RMIT and Flinders University.

Researchers will test Sleeptite’s REMi wireless sensor monitoring technology and investigate its suitability as a sleep disorder validation tool. REMi is the result of a collaboration between industry and university, in which basic research was taken from the RMIT laboratories and converted into a commercial result.

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Introduced in March, the technology is designed to provide non-intrusive surveillance for elderly care residents. Sensors on the mattress surface provide real-time insights into the position, posture and sleep status of the resident.

The technology is being tested by experts from the sleep health team at Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute at Flinders University in collaboration with the Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group at RMIT.

“The flexible and stretchable sensors developed at RMIT are part of what makes REMi unique – and it is this approachable and non-tactile technology that will make it possible to conduct sleep studies in much more natural environments,” says the co- Group leader, Madhu Bhaskaran, in a press release. “We look forward to discovering new ways of partnership for this platform technology and to have the opportunity to establish close collaborations in order to take this world’s first system beyond care for the elderly.”

Cameron van den Dungen, CEO of Sleeptite, says the new research has harnessed REMi’s potential to provide sleep diagnostic information outside of an elderly care facility.

“I am very pleased that further scientific research shows how the Sleeptite REMi platform can be used as a sleep diagnostic tool to determine sleep disorders such as sleep apnea,” said van den Dungen in a press release.

The REMi Sleep Diagnostic Evaluation Study, conducted at Flinders University’s Adelaide Research Center, is expected to last six months and will include:

  • further sensor capability test of the REMi sensors;
  • Identifying key sleep-related parameters;
  • Establishing relationships between sensor signals and sleep measurements; and,
  • Development of an algorithm that recognizes the quality of sleep.

The 30-participant study will be assessed using polysomnography (PSG) results, which are considered the gold standard in the industry.

Flinders University project leader Andrew Vakulin, associate professor, said the research was aimed at developing and validating sleep measurement metrics and algorithms using the REMi sensors and further improving their ability to provide informative data.

“Sleep, exercise and a healthy diet are essential for a healthy life, and sleep deprivation – even with an untreated sleep disorder – can have serious long-term and short-term health consequences,” said Vakulin in a press release. “Our research aims to prove that the Sleeptite REMi sensors provide a reliable measure of sleep quality and insomnia, which will ultimately lead to new apps that will help consumers improve their sleep health.”

The study was made possible by funding from the CRC for Attention, Safety, and Productivity.

Image credit: Sleeptite

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