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Your smartphone may soon monitor your health while you sleep

Soon you won’t need a smart wristband, sleeping app, special bedside light or one of many other devices built to help you track and improve your sleep each night. A team of researchers has developed a way to use a pair of earphones with an in-line microphone plugged into a smartphone to track breathing patterns and detect sleep disorders. By plugging a pair of microphone-equipped earbuds into an iPhone, researchers from Stevens Institute of Technology and Florida State University were able to track the breathing habits of six participants in a six-month study.

Researchers are working on a more convenient way to track your breathing while you sleep: by putting a microphone-equipped pair of earphones and a smartphone on your bedside table. The technology could make tracking sleep disorders easier than visiting a sleep lab. A team at Stevens Institute of Technology and Florida State University conducted a six-month study in which earbuds that included an in-line microphone were plugged into an iPhone that recorded sounds as six people slept. The researchers say that even with the earphones placed on a table next to the bed, they were able to use the microphone to monitor participants’ breathing to within half a breath per minute of what could be recorded with a chest-worn respiration monitor and a microphone clipped to participants’ collars. Yingying Chen, an associate professor at Stevens, says researchers plan to release a smartphone app related to their work next year.

 

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