Real-time monitoring for sleep apnea syndrome project was awarded by National Science Council for 3 years

National Science Council awarded NEWSLab research team a three years contract for Real-time high performance miniature sensing systems for sleep apnea syndrome. The researchers and students associated with three departments will collaborate in this multi-displine project.

Sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing. In recent years, sleep apnea has become one of the serious diseases and many hospitals have established “sleep centers”. Although hospitals have performed sleep test during nighttime, the change of sleeping environment and schedule for each individual usually results in inaccurate reports. In addition, a typical Polysomnography (PSG) measurement requires many wire attachments to the face and body, which interfere the sleeping habits of the patients and lead to the incorrect results. For the patients, a ventilation device that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is prescribed to improve the sleep. CPAP is designed for home usage to deliver a constant airflow and pressure in order to prevent the collapse of airway during sleep. Nonetheless, some of the CPAP sensors that patients wear are too bulky that the sleep quality is impaired. To this end, having a system that can be used at home for accurate monitoring is an ultimate goal.
In this project, a real-time monitoring system, with the nomenclature, Mobile Real-time Sleep Apnea Monitoring system, MRSAM, will be developed. Without disturbing the sleeping habits of patients, MRSAM can acquire the desired test parameters immediately and simultaneously transfer the data by “Cloud” to hospital for the evaluations by physicians.

The 1st stage of our project provides a real-time monitor of the PSG information of the patients. The information will be wirelessly transferred to the Cloud for evaluations by physicians. The conventional data (extracted from patients in the hospital) will be compared and studied with the information extracted at home. And in the 2nd stage, we target on integrating the CPAP with the simplified PSG monitoring. The data from the miniature sensors at the end of CPAP is transferred to the Cloud for diagnosis. In this stage, since the conventional airflow sensors, snoring probe are very bulky, which bring discomfort during sleep and inaccurate PSG reading, they will be fabricated using MEMS technology on the semiconductor material. And heart beat rate and chest-movement sensors will be modified from the commercial one. In the 3rd stage, we plan to relieve the discomfort of wire connection of CPAP that the patients are wearing during the sleep. We plan to integrate sensors into a sensor board, which transmits CPAP and OSA related information using an IR LED transceiver. And at the LED receiving end, the information will be transmitted via Cloud to the specialists or physicians.

Throughout out the 3 stages, patients will be taught to use the monitoring system and CPAP during sleep. The collected data will be sent back to the hospital for evaluation. In stage 2 and 3, the suggestion of adjusting CPAP parameters will be sent back to patients if the initial settings of CPAP are not suitable to improve the breathing condition of sleep. The sleep-related data will be collected and compared to evaluate the feasibility and reliability of using the wireless sensors and devices in clinical applications with and without using our systems.

Project development site for team members: http://140.112.29.19/projects/nssmd

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