ResMed, a medical device company focused on sleep apnea, has launched its first consumer product, a $149 device for tracking and improving sleep called S+. The platform includes a non-contact, cellular-enabled device that uses a motion sensor to detect respiration and movement without touching the body, an app, and a cloud-based analytics engine.
"When we looked at the sleep market, what we learned was you had to get the product experience right," ResMed's sales and marketing director Matt Norton told MobiHealthNews. "The non-contact aspect was crucial. The data has to be accurate and it has to be meaningful. Everyone knows using the basic accelerometer in your phone is pretty weak. It’s important to be able to not just understand your sleep, but we think it’s crucial that we’re able to provide pragmatic, actionable advice to help you improve your sleep."
The sensor technology is based on technology from BiancaMed, the consumer sleep company ResMed acquired back in 2011. In the meantime, Norton said, the company has been developing the product and doing extensive consumer testing to find out what people are looking for.
S+ addresses sleep problems on a number of different levels. First, the device measures not only sleep and breathing, from which the algorithm can deduce sleep states, but also ambient room factors like light level, noise level, and temperature. Before the user goes to bed, the app also asks them four or five lifestyle questions about their exercise, caffeine intake, and exercise that day.
Over time, the platform learns both the user's specific sleep trouble (for instance, trouble getting to sleep, insufficient deep sleep, or insufficient REM sleep) and some of the potential factors that could be contributing to it. It makes specific suggestions, like telling the user to improve their deep sleep by cutting down their alcohol intake, or to consider getting a blackout curtain if morning light is waking them prematurely.
The device can also directly help users get to sleep with three interactive features. The device can use sounds to regulate and slow down the user's breathing, a feature called Mind Clear lets the user record the thoughts that might be preoccupying them to "save" them for tomorrow, and a smart alarm aims to wake users at the optimal point in their sleep cycle.
Finally, if, after a few weeks, the user's sleep doesn't improve, the device prompts the user to generate a report of all the data it has collected, which the user can then print off and bring to a doctor. All that data is also viewable in chart form at mysplus[dot]com.
Norton said the biggest challenge in the transition from medical devices to consumer devices for ResMed was to make sure the platform contained the whole care experience.
"You should get this reassurance that the device is capturing your sleep accurately and monitoring you," he said. "You should find that the information that it provides through the analysis and articles and suggestions it gives to you are useful. That’s quite different from a medical product, where often we rely on doctors and intermediaries in order to assist us with developing that part of the customer experience."
The device will be available from Amazon.com and from Bed, Bath & Beyond, with a Best Buy rollout coming in the next few weeks, Norton said. Additional retailers will be added in the future.