Apple Invents a new Flexible Capacity Sensing Mat to advance Beddit's Sleep Monitoring Health System
In 2017 Patently Apple posted an IP report covering the original patent behind the Beddit Biometrics system. In March 2021 we posted another patent report about possible advancement for the Beddit sleep monitoring system regarding the integration of an array of "Actuation Cells" that could expand, contract, or otherwise change shape) in a predetermined sequence to provide haptic outputs. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple titled " Flexible Capacitive Sensing Mat Including Spacer Fabric."
In Apple's patent background they note that sleep deficiency is a large and growing problem in modern society. Under guidelines from the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night for optimal health. Adults sleeping less than the recommended 7 hours typically display a higher rate of health-related complications such as: worsening symptoms from chronic diseases (e.g., asthma); increased chance of chronic conditions such as heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke; increased chance of mental disorders such as depression; and worsening performance in school- or work-related tasks.
Treatment for sleep deficiency generally includes medication, cognitive treatments, and/or behavioral counseling. For example, meditation techniques may be performed by an individual before sleep in an attempt to relax and experience better quality rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In another example, medication may depress the central nervous system and may cause an individual to more easily fall asleep.
These treatments, however, do not directly measure and monitor an individual's sleep. When attempting to diagnose problems related to sleep deficiency, therefore, medical and/or individuals may generally rely on estimations about an individual's sleep patterns. Such estimations may include errors due to the difficulty in reliably obtaining and tracking such information.
Apple's invention relates to health monitoring devices for detecting the presence of a person or object on a mattress or cushioned furniture.
In particular, a health monitoring device may be a flexible mat with a first conductive layer, a second conductive layer, and a compliant layer disposed in between the first and second conductive layers. The compliant layer may be formed from a spacer fabric with particular properties.
Example spacer fabric properties may include: spacer fabric material (e.g., monofilament or multifilament); monofilament or multifilament density; monofilament or multifilament angle; knitting machine parameters; material treatments; compressive modulus (e.g., Young's modulus) values; maximum or minimum compressive thickness; and so on. In some embodiments, a health monitoring device may be placed on a mattress or cushioned furniture and may be configured to detect the presence of a user sitting, lying, and/or otherwise positioned on the mattress or cushioned furniture.
In some embodiments, a health monitoring device may be configured to be imperceptible to a user while the user is sitting, lying, and/or otherwise positioned on the mattress or cushioned furniture. In this way, the comfort of the mattress and/or cushioned furniture may be unaffected by the health monitoring device.
In various embodiments, a health monitoring device may be a flexible mat and may include a number of different sensing components such as biometric sensors.
The flexible mat may additionally be configured to extend across a width of a mattress or cushioned furniture. The flexible mat may include a number of different sensing components and/or biometric sensors including: a capacitive sensor; a ballistocardiograph sensor; a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS); a touch sensor; any combination thereof; and so on.
A flexible mat may be affixed to a mattress or cushioned furniture by, for example, an adhesive or fastener (e.g., hook and loop fastener), and may operate as a health monitoring device to detect certain vital signs (e.g., body weight, body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, blood flow, and so on). A flexible mat may additionally detect sleep-related metrics such as snoring, the amount of tossing and turning undergone by a user, and so on.
To prevent a flexible mat from attempting to measure a user's vital signs when the user is not present, a detection sensor (e.g., a presence detection sensor or presence sensor) may be provided.
In some embodiments, a capacitive sensor may operate as a detection sensor. A capacitive sensor may be referred to as a flexible sensor strip and may be integrated into a flexible mat.
Apple's patent FIG. 1A below illustrates a top view of an example flexible mat #100 that may be used to perform presence detection when positioned on top of a mattress or cushioned furniture; FIG. 3 illustrates an example flexible sensor strip including a line stitch coupling a first conductive layer, a second conductive layer, and a spacer fabric; FIG. 5B illustrates a side view of a user lying on a mattress with an example above-mattress flexible mat.
For greater details about this invention, review Apple's patent application number 20220061699.
Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.