Sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. However, many people have difficulty falling asleep or falling asleep, which leads to insufficient sleep. While recent research suggests that 7 hours is the ideal amount of sleep for adults, many people are struggling to get so much on a regular basis.
Fortunately, scientists are working on this issue, and one of the ways is through better sleep monitoring. A new smart self-powered pillow that tracks head position could help.
The human body needs as much sleep as it needs food and water. However, many people fail to get enough, causing both the mind and the body to suffer. People who struggle to close their eyes may benefit from monitoring their sleep, but have limited options to do so. In a new study in Materials and interfaces applied ACSone team describes a potential solution: a smart self-powered pillow that tracks head position.
Studies have linked chronic sleep deprivation to physical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as mental health problems. Those interested in dealing better with what is happening to them at night have two main options. They can take a sleep test in a medical facility or use an app with a smartphone or smart watch - a much more convenient but less accurate choice. Recognizing the need, many groups have begun to develop new sleep monitoring systems using triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs). These self-feeding systems took the form of eye masks, belts, patches and even bed linen. Ding Li, Zhong Lin Wang, and their colleagues wanted to adapt this approach to create a less restrictive, more comfortable version that focuses on the movement of the head during sleep.
To build this new smart pillow, researchers have formulated a flexible, porous polymer triboelectric layer. The movement between the head and this layer changes the electric field around the nearby electrodes, generating a current. They tied several of these self-powered sensors together to create a flexible and breathable TENG (FB-TENG) matrix that can be placed on top of a regular pillow. This system could generate a voltage that corresponds to the amount of pressure applied and could track the movement of a finger tracing the letters. FB-TENG could also capture the pressure distribution of a fake human head as it changes position.
This smart pillow could have uses beyond sleep tracking, scientists say. For example, the system may monitor patients with diseases that affect the movement of the head, such as degenerative cervical spondylosis. In addition, the smart pillow could be adapted to provide an early warning system for those at risk of falling out of bed, they say.
Reference: “Smart pillow based on flexible and breathable triboelectric nanogenerator networks for monitoring head movement during sleep” by Haiying Kou, Haiming Wang, Renwei Cheng, Yanjun Liao, Xue Shi, Jianjun Luo, Ding Li and Zhong Lin Wang, May 14 2022, Materials and interfaces applied ACS.
DOI: 10.1021 / acsami.2c03056
The authors acknowledge funding from the National Key Research and Development Project of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China and the National Foundation for Natural Sciences of China.