Sleep Tight!June 1, 2005 By: Sensors Staff Sensors
Heavy snoring is more than a source of spousal irritation. Those snorts, roars, and gurgles can be indicators of sleep anea, among other disorders. Sleep apnea refers to momentary cessations of respiration during sleep and can itself reveal problems with the autonomic nervous system. Those who suffer from the condition fail to wake up because the oxygen supply to the brain and other organs has been compromised. One line of medical thought posits that rousing the sleeper just enough to change position can forestall serious consequences. And that's the mission of Partnercare Nexaver.
This device, made by the Israeli firm Nexense Technology, consists of a thin plastic sheet that can be placed under the mattress. It can perform noninvasive real-time monitoring of assorted physiological parameters including respiratory rate, body motion, levels of perspiration, heartbeat, and sound effects. Not only can Nexaver detect events and changes from an established baseline, but it can also activate an alarm that wakens the sleeper's bedmate, or produce a small vibration that induces the snoring party to turn over. Further, it can be instrumented to keep a record of a person's nighttime behavior for use in medical evaluations. It could also be used to keep watch over the crib of a baby diagnosed as being at risk for sudden infant death syndrome.
The technology is anything but conventional. According to Nexense CEO and Nexaver inventor, Arik Ariav, it is based on internal propagation of a cyclically repeating energy wave from a primary location, which is then received by a secondary location. It next detects a predetermined reference point in the energy wave and continuously changes the frequency of an exciter to the point where the number of waves equals an integer. By using the frequency changes, a measurement of the predetermined parameter is produced.
GE Healthcare, an investor in Nexense, is putting Nexaver through clinical trials at Johns Hopkins University and the Mayo Clinic to see whether the technology can help determine that a patient is holding still enough for a successful MRI or CT procedure. Even small movements can blur the images and invalidate the results.
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