General Positioning: Breathing is an essential vital-signs function and important health indicator for adults in their middle years, elderly in care and premature babies. The primary risk groups, including those exposed to air-pollution, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and known respiratory diseases. Early recognition of a medical condition can improve treatment outcomes and costs.
Globally, millions of people suffer from sleep-apnea, a condition where irregular breathing can lead to excessive snoring, sleep disorder, daytime sleepiness, or even to death.
Goals: Advances in digital health technology have made science-based telemedical solutions for respiratory monitoring accessible to the home-based markets. Families and caretakers can perform ambulant health screening and monitoring at home, when and where it’s needed. Telemedical solutions put the patient in control of their health and information, while drastically reducing the health costs to the patient and the system. Patients can share information with the medical professional of their choice and at their option.
Sleep apnea is a condition where the body temporarily stops breathing due to blockage of the throat. The person must awaken and voluntarily begin breathing again. This continuous disruption of sleep leads to fatigue and, if untreated, can lead to more serious ailments. The problem has been to properly (accurately and cost-effectively) diagnose (day and night)apnea. The goal is, to develop an easy to use chest strap solution to monitor respiratory patterns. In combination with a second strap, monitoring and analyzing abdominal thoracic breathing patterns should be possible too.
Motivation: Breathing and Apnea monitoring day and night at home still remains a challenge. But with soft body dynamics monitoring systems around the thoracic diaphragm and the abdomen not only the individual breath patterns but also thorax-to-abdomen breathing ratio will become convenient, giving any professional a first indication of breath conditions. If initial apnea breath testing can be done at home, before undergoing extended tests in a sleep laboratory or in a clinic, this would already be advantageous.
Also the need for premature monitoring is urgent. Every year, more than 10% of all livebirths or around 15 million are born preterm (before 37 weeks of gestation) with an increasing trend. Apnea of prematurity (AOP) is a common problem affecting premature infants. AOP monitoring and treatment options are fairly limited. Expanding current system range with a novel and simple to use low cost solution for prematures is worth this challenge.