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Development of a non-invasive baby sleep monitoring and intelligent control system for the prevention of unexpected death in previously healthy babies and early detection of risky situations

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An intelligent system to protect babies in their sleep

EU-funded researchers have advanced an intelligent monitoring system slated to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and detect risky situations early on. The system is integrated into the baby's cot through a biosensing textile with sensors that measure relevant biological parameters.

Food and Natural Resources
Health

The project BABYCARESLEEP (Development of a non-invasive baby sleep monitoring and intelligent control system for the prevention of unexpected death in previously healthy babies and early detection of risky situations) has developed a Baby Care Sleep system for early detection of risky situations and SIDS prevention. Initial work included defining requirements of paediatricians and parents and developing prototypes of biosensing textiles. Partners collaborated with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a paediatric sleep clinic, an association for paediatric research, and developers of biomechanics, smart textiles and intelligent control systems. Project work led to five major exploitable results, the first four being a smart real-time biosensing textile, an intelligent control system, a management and control interface, and a risk assessment and actuation algorithm (in case of apnoea detection). The fifth is the integrated Baby Care Sleep system, bringing together all the sub-components in one product and providing its full capabilities. Researchers carried out trials with 28 newborn babies, leading to development of algorithms for actuation, which were validated with another group of 6 babies. The system has pH sensors to measure gastroesophageal reflux episodes, temperature sensors for hyperthermia (fever), and sensors for detecting movement and breathing. The measurements help to detect potentially dangerous situations. Following this, preventative action is initiated – a subcortical arousal through mattress-embedded micro-vibrators reactivates the baby's breathing without waking it up. The intelligent control system also records the data for paediatrician assessment. Sensors and actuators in the breathable mattress, made mainly of polyester and protected against any potentially harmful voltage sources, are connected to a sensor control box. This provides the primary interface between the sensors and the domestic Wi-Fi network. The raw temperature and breathing signals information is turned into digital data and results are communicated to a smartphone application. The developed Baby Care Sleep Android application provides recommendations for preventing SIDS, acting as a repository of good practices for parents and caregivers, and it can be downloaded for public domain information. The Baby Care Sleep system promises reduced stress for families with infants and should drive down the numbers of SIDS-related deaths. Commercialisation efforts are also projected to result in major profit and competitiveness benefits for participating SMEs.

Keywords

Babies, SIDS, biosensing, BABYCARESLEEP, sleep monitoring, intelligent control system

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