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Tech company Apple has registered a new invention that could help improve our sleep health

Natalie O’Neill, December 5, 2018 7:00PM Kids News

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A new invention by tech company Apple could help you sleep better. Picture: iStock media_cameraA new invention by tech company Apple could help you sleep better. Picture: iStock

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Tech company Apple is developing a “smart bed” that watches you while you sleep, tracking your heart rate, breathing and body temperature.

It’s called the iSheet and it weaves around a blanket, sheet or doona to monitor* sleep patterns to help people get better rest.

The multi-sensor* system connects to a wireless touchscreen control panel and display, according to a patent by Apple. A company or inventor registers a patent for a new invention to show it is theirs and stop other people copying it or saying it is their invention.

Users of the iSheet could track how much they toss and turn at night and analyse* their sleep with an overhead camera and 54 body-tracking sensors*.

Sensors in the new invention could track how much you are tossing and turning at night time while you are asleep. media_cameraSensors in the new invention could track how much you are tossing and turning at night time while you are asleep.

The hi-tech blanket also helps people with health problems by automatically calling an ambulance when it senses an emergency.

Developers promise not to collect or share personal information of sleepers without permission, according to the patent.

VIDEO: These kids aren’t having any problems going to sleep!

The results could be used by doctors to help understand sleep problems.

It’s easier than using “expensive and bulky* (medical) equipment,” the patent notes. “Traditionally, monitoring a user’s sleep and/or measuring vital* signs required expensive and bulky equipment,” the patent states.

Heart rate monitors in hospitals are very bulky and could disrupt your sleep. The idea behind the new invention is that it would collect information but not disturb you. Picture: iStock media_cameraHeart rate monitors in hospitals are very bulky and could disrupt your sleep. The idea behind the new invention is that it would collect information but not disturb you. Picture: iStock

“Some systems require that the monitoring be performed in a medical facility* or required the equipment to attach to or directly contact the person, which can lead to discomfort* and inaccurate* analysis due to disruption* of the user’s sleep,” it states — noting Apple’s tool is much less invasive*.

Apple has already filed another patent that could trigger an ambulance call. This one notes the bedding would include “accelerometers*” to track heart rate and breathing by converting movements into electrical signals, according to the patent.

One feature of the new Apple technology is that it could call an ambulance while you are asleep or unconscious, when you don’t even know you need one. media_cameraOne feature of the new Apple technology is that it could call an ambulance while you are asleep or unconscious, when you don’t even know you need one.

An illustration of the iSheet design shows 54 “piezo” sensors on a bed, which could be woven into the bedding fabric. Piezo means to squeeze or press.

Tech companies file all sorts of patents like this that never come to anything, so it’s not possible to know if either invention will ever be available to buy. Apple didn’t return a request for comment.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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GLOSSARY

  • monitor: check, or keep checking
  • multi-sensor: lots of sensors
  • analyse: examine thoroughly
  • sensors: instruments to sense change
  • bulky: big
  • vital: essential
  • facility: a place where equipment is
  • discomfort: feeling uncomfortable
  • inaccurate: not accurate
  • disruption: problems that interrupt
  • invasive: intrude on thoughts or privacy
  • accelerometer: equipment to measure vibration or movement


LISTEN TO THIS STORY

QUICK QUIZ

  1. What is a patent?
  2. How many body-tracking sensors are in the iSheet?
  3. Could it call an ambulance for you in an emergency?
  4. Could Apple share personal iSheet information about you if you gave permission?
  5. Is this invention certain to be available to buy in the future?


CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Why is it so important to have a good night’s sleep every night?
List all of the reasons you can think of. Think of some things that you can do to help get to bed on time, relax and get to sleep. Use this to create a fact sheet for kids about sleep. Your fact sheet should be interesting, fun and help kids learn why good sleep is important.

Time: Allow 30 minutes
Curriculum Links: English, Health and Physical Education

2. Extension
The iSheet is an amazing invention that started with an ordinary, everyday bedsheet. Can you think of an amazing invention that you could create from another ordinary or everyday thing? Create a design with a written description of your invention, how it works and what it will be used for.

Time: Allow 45 minutes
Curriculum Links: English, Design and Technologies, Critical and Creative Thinking

VCOP ACTIVITY
After reading the article, with a partner, highlight all the openers you can find in blue. Discuss if they are powerful and varied openers or not. Why do you think the journalists has used a mix of simple and power openers? Would you change any, and why?

HAVE YOUR SAY: How do you feel about this invention? Would you use one if it helped you sleep?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.

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