Researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology and Florida State University have teamed up to create a smartphone app that can track breathing patterns as someone sleeps. If successful, this app could be used to monitor sleeping disorders while a person is at home, providing helpful data without the need for a formal sleep study.
The app works through a microphone on a set of earbuds. The microphone picks up a person’s breathing patterns and records them on the app. Even if the earbuds are on a table next to the bed, the microphone can still pick up enough information to diagnose sleeping disorders. Researchers found the results were within half-a-breath of the data recorded by chest-worn respiration monitors.
Yingying Chen, an associate professor at SIT, said that the app could help diagnose conditions like sleep apnea, which is normally discovered in a hospital setting with sensors attached to a person’s body. Chen said it can be difficult for doctors to catch irregular breathing patterns in this setting, and a simple smartphone app could give them a better picture of a person’s normal sleeping habits.
The researchers tested the app for six months, and it may be made available this year.