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New Smart Sleep Mask Will Aid in Efficient Napping

As sleep researchers learn more about the most efficient way to benefit from taking a nap, technology is working hard to keep up with their findings. A team that originates in Taiwan has recently announced that they have created a smart eye mask that will allow a person to take a nap that provides them with the highest levels of refreshment and which will wake them at the optimum time to ensure that they do not suffer any ill effects.

The team comes from National Cheng Kung University and works under professor Sheng-Fu Liang. The mask is designed to monitor users’ sleep cycles and to be sensitive to when the proper time is for them to wake up within the parameters of an established alarm time.

According to Liang, who is a professor of Computer Science and Information Engineering, the system works because of their development of a portable wireless electrooculography recording device, as well as an EOG-based sleep scoring app. The app recognizes each of the five sleep stages, and bases its interpretation upon the feedback that it receives from the recording device, which is built into the mask. Though the system is not yet available for public use, the team says that it is close to being produced commercially.

Liang explains the EOG technology by noting that when a polysomnograph is performed in order to identify sleep disorders, it utilizes a variety of different inputs, including EEG (electroencephalograms), EMG (electromyelogram), and EOG (electro-oculography), as well as other biometric measurements. These scores are gathered through a plethora of wires that the sleep study patient is attached to. These wires are often cause for complaint and discomfort on the part of the patients, who often indicate that they are not able to sleep when tethered to so many devices. The eye mask eliminates these concerns because the wires are held within the device rather than attached directly to the sleeper. The fabric that the mask is made up of is extremely soft and comfortable, and the mask itself is very small and portable, making it very convenient.

Once the user is wearing the mask and begins to nap, it sends data wirelessly to a mobile platform, where the app will analyze the users’ sleep cycles. The app is programmed to wake the user up via an alarm when they are in the sleep stage that will provide them with the greatest sense of being well-rested. The alarm will always go off before the prescribed wake up time, but the determination of exactly when is based upon whether the person is in a deep sleep or a light sleep. The mask is designed to wake the user when they are in sleep stage 2, which is light sleep, and will automatically prevent the user from entering the deep sleep that can lead to sleep inertia, the drugged and drowsy feeling that nappers get when they have slept too long.

 

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