Have you ever heard smart health pajamas? Most people do not sleep well enough or not in the right way. That’s why “the sleep industry” is exploding. In 2017, the market was estimated at $ 29 billion worldwide.
Sleeping well is important for your health. A good night’s sleep protects you from stress, infections and many diseases, especially in the heart and kidneys. It also prevents too high blood pressure, and tends to prevent diabetes. In addition, multiple studies show that quality sleep increases mental capacity and makes better decisions.
Smart health pajamas for analyzing your health
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts managed to create connected pajamas capable of analyzing the sleeper’s posture, breathing and heart rate.
Today there are many connected mattresses on the market, to detect the user’s movements to improve his posture. However, these devices do not provide detailed information to the user and have the disadvantage of not being transportable.
Likewise, most of the connected wristbands available provide the wearer with information about his heart rate and monitor his sleep time. However, so far, no consumer device has actually allowed the user to monitor his posture during sleep or to detect heart and respiratory signals symptomatic of poor quality sleep.
It’s done now. As part of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2019 National Meeting & Exhibition, researchers at the University of Massachusetts have just unveiled the first connected pajamas.
Thanks to its self-powered sensors, these new-generation pajamas are able to continuously monitor the wearer’s heart rate, breathing and posture. Based on the data collected, the user will be able to better understand why he sleeps badly and therefore improve his sleep.
Connected smart pajamas detect posture, heart rate and sleeper breathing
To create this smart pajamas, researchers had to overcome many obstacles. As Trisha L. Andrew, the project director, said it need to find a way to integrate sensors and power sources into ordinary pajamas without altering weight, texture or comfort. In addition, scientists have had to rely on computer scientists and electrical engineers to process the myriad of signals emitted by sensors to simplify the understanding of information.
The connected pajamas rely largely on a process called “chemical vapor deposition”. It is a method of vacuum deposition of thin films from gaseous precursors. This method allowed researchers to synthesize a polymer for simultaneous deposition on vapor-phase tissue to form electronic components and integrated sensors. These deposited electronic polymer films have the advantage of being washable. And adapted to the many twists suffered by pajamas on a daily basis.
At the University of Massachusetts, a prototype called “Phyjama” embeds five textile patches each concealing a sensor. These patches are interconnected using nylon threads covered in cotton. The threads of each patch connected to a button-sized circuit board, placed in the same place as a pajama button. The data collected by the sensors is transmitted wirelessly to a receiver using a small Bluetooth transmitter also hidden in the button.
The Phyjama has two types of sensors. One detects ballistic movements, the other changes pressure. Four of the patches are piezoelectric and detect the constant pressure. They will for example check the position of the user against his mattress to assess his posture.
The fifth patch is triboelectric and detects rapid changes in pressure. For example, he can identify the changes in the heartbeat of the wearer to collect data on his heart rate.
The volunteers who tested this smart health pajamas of the future validated the conclusions drawn by the sensors, demonstrating that this invention could really improve the sleep quality of many people. Researchers are looking for a partner capable to transfer technology and make pajamas on a large scale. And they believe that the product could be available on the market within two years for a price of $ 100 to $ 200.