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Vietnamese professor invents sleep-monitoring device

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With WiSpiro, the autonomous system that monitors a person’s breathing volume invented by Prof Vu Ngoc Tam, users can check the quality of their sleep via brainwave signals.

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Prof Vu Ngoc Tam


WiSpiro is 1,000 times cheaper than other products of the same type available in the market. The product won awards at ACM MobiCom S3 in October 2016.

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, half the population in the world sleeps less than six hours each night, while 35 percent of US people suffer from insomnia. 

Vu Ngoc Tam, the founder of Mobile & Networked Systems Laboratory at the University of Colorado in Denver, believes that quantifying the quality of sleep is very important in order to discover and diagnose sleep disorders. However, at hospitals in the US, it is very costly to monitor sleep.

Tam considered inventing a product that would monitor the sleep of children and adults without causing any convenience to them. The product should be easy to use, bring reliable results and be cheap.

Tam believes that to examine the quality of sleep, it is necessary to measure breathing volume, because when sleeping, the brain doesn’t control breathing, so the oxygen volume might be insufficient. The oxygen volume decreases to a certain level and wakes people up.

Tam used wifi and wireless waves to watch the movement of the chest during sleep. The intensity of the wifi is just equal to 1/10 of the normal level, so it is safe. 

WiSpiro can monitor the breathing volume of users with high accuracy level by firing wifi waves on the patient's chest. The waves rebound and show the breathing volume.

WiSpiro was used on six patients who slept for 30 hours. It gave exact results with the small error possibility of 0.05. With Tam’s device, physicians can give an exact diagnosis.

Later, Tam used the device on eight patients and compared the monitoring result with another device valued at $58,000. WiSpiro’s result had accuracy level of 95 percent compared with the other device. It is priced at $50-100 only.

According to Tam, WiSpiro can capture waves from muscles, eyes and brain, and can be used in many different sectors, including education, transportation and sports.

In education, the device can help parents realize their children’s abilities and passions. 

In general, children aged 2-3 who are sent by parents to piano, chess and painting classes don’t communicate what they really prefer to do or like.  WiSpiro can show how children’s brains react when they play piano or draw pictures and if children like the activities.


Source: VietNamNet

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During three years working at University of Colorado at Denver, Prof Vu Ngoc Tam received nine US patents and many prizes at technology conferences.