Gadgets for humans

Check this out: A t-shirt that analyzes your sleep


The need for a good night’s sleep shouldn’t be underestimated – it helps boost our memory, it controls our metabolism and the quality of sleep ultimately determines our mood the next day.

But everyone’s sleep patterns are different. You may think you’ve slept well because you’ve conked out for 8 hours, but someone who only got 4 hours sleep may feel more refreshed because they were in a deeper state of sleep and awoke just at the right time.

There have been many apps, devices and contraptions designed to help you track your sleeping patterns throughout the night, but most require you to attach some kind of monitoring device, such as a wrist or head-band. Not any more – step forward the Somnus Sleep Shirt.

The Sommus Sleep Shirt is a t-shirt – you wear it to bed in place of your normal bed garment. Except this t-shirt is embedded with thin, flexible respiration sensors that monitor and measure breathing as the wearer moves around in bed. The t-shirt itself is made from lightweight, breathable material so it shouldn’t feel like some sort of lab experiment:

The t-shirt was developed based on research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital. So – how exactly does it work?

Well, the sensors that are embedded in the shirt work in conjunction with what’s called a SleepLogger – a small contraption roughly the size of a car key’s fob – and this slips into a small pocket at the bottom of the t-shirt,  powering the sensors throughout the night.

The SleepLogger can record data for up to five nights, and when you charge the device in the morning, your data is automatically transferred to the website of creators Nyx Devices, where your sleep health is thus analyzed. The t-shirt is designed to record both the quality and quantity of your sleep, and your data will look roughly like this:

The sensors are made out of common t-shirt vinyl that can be applied to almost any type of fabric, so will this mean we’ll be seeing a whole range of sleep-monitoring bed-clothing soon? This remains to be seen.

As for the t-shirt, it’s currently still in testing by Boston-based Nyx, and it hopes to launch it commercially by summer 2012, with a price expected to be below $100.

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Published June 29, 2011 — 10:18 UTC