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Consumer Sleep Technology

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Apple and UCLA Launch New Study with Beddit Product

Consumer Sleep Technology Patent Forecast®

August 6, 2020

This week, UCLA announced a new study co-designed with Apple to determine new methods for detecting and treating depression using the iPhone, the Apple Watch, and the Beddit sleep tracker. The first two products are widely-known to all consumers, but the third may come as a surprise. In 2017, Apple acquired Finnish company Beddit, maker of a sleep tracking strip that adheres to a user's mattress and takes advantage of ballistocardiography. This technique involves monitoring the tiny up-and-down motion of the human body that occurs with each heartbeat as blood fills and leaves the aorta, the largest artery in the body. While the device and its accompanying app were already compatible with iOS and the Apple Watch before acquisition, newer models since then have included functionalities such as snoring detection using the iPhone microphone and integration with Apple Health. Despite these changes, the product has received mixed reviews and is certainly not the most recognizable device in Apple's otherwise streamlined product portfolio. 

The new study, part of UCLA's larger initiative to better understand depression and its biological and environmental causes, will last for three years. Researchers will track sleep, physical activity, heart rate, and daily routines using the Apple products and utilize the aggregated and anonymized data to make quantifiable connections between everyday indicators and mental health. In 2019, a small study of ten adults found that the Beddit sleep monitor could not accurately distinguish between different stages of sleep; however, if successful, UCLA's 3,000-participant study may help to legitimize the product and position it better in the public consciousness. 

Apple's patent activity in the sleep sector has been relatively sparse, but the company filed an application for an in-bed piezo sensor strip in 2018 that may pair well with the Beddit sleep monitor for improved tracking. There is also great potential if the technologies can sync and corroborate data with a wearable such as the Apple Watch. Beddit's patents for its ballistiocardiography sensors are now assigned to Apple and can be viewed, along with other innovations in Consumer Sleep technology, on the Magic Number® Patent Radian®

beddit tracker monitors your sleep without having to wear it white sensor on bed

Relevant Patent Documents

Application US20160213309  

Application US20180337325  

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