Smart Speakers Monitor A Baby's Breathing And Check For Infant Sleep Apnea

Researchers at the University of Washington have created an app that links to smart speakers to monitor a baby’s breathing. The new technology cleverly makes use of the capabilities of speakers like the Amazon Echo to record breathing patterns and detect symptoms of sleep apnea. With this app, both parents and children can sleep better knowing that something is looking out for them.

The app was developed to help parents monitor their baby’s breathing during the night, especially those with sleep apnea. As a parent, it can be difficult to sleep when you know that there might be a chance your child isn’t breathing properly while they’re asleep. Instead of panicking and using older, more ineffective methods to monitor their breathing, using the new app will allow everyone to sleep better.

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The app, BreathJunior, was developed at the university, and it has been tested on five babies in the NICU in Washington. So far, results and reviews of the app have been overwhelmingly positive. With a 97% accuracy rate within a 20-foot radius, researchers are confident that it can be one of the most useful tools parents can have to keep an eye on their children’s health.

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It works by utilizing the capabilities of most smart speakers available on the market today. The app records the sound waves of white noise sent out from the speaker. They are then recorded back from the room through the microphone. The app filters out the original signal from white noise reflected back. It calculates the differences between the original white noise to the version reflected back to determine the baby’s location and their diaphragm movements. This allows the app to determine specific kinds of erratic breathing or gurgling, and it will send an alert if it finds any cause for alarm.

The team who developed the app plans to release it to the public via a company, Sound Life Sciences. Before the official launch, however, they need to present their findings to an audience at MobiCom, a yearly conference on mobile computing held in Los Cabos, Mexico. Potentially, they can get even more investors and help perfecting the app. When it becomes widely available, their creation will help so many parents around the world.

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