Bam Lab: Mattress monitor for heart rate, sleep apnea

By Chris Gullo
10:23 am
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BAM_001_300Bam Labs aims to make health monitoring easier for people while they sleep. Notably, the company's sensor is not wearable, but it tracks heart rate, breathing, and movement during sleep, and the company says it can even diagnose sleep apnea -- all from a mattress pad located beneath the user.

MedGadget notes that the Bam Labs device was designed by former Apple employees. It is intended for use both in clinical settings and for home health.

The system works via a sensor "at one corner of the pad [tracking] air-pressure fluctuations caused by the tiny tremors caused by heartbeats or the more sizable shaking that occurs when someone turns over or gets out of bed," according to Technology Review.

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The data is transmitted via USB to a box that connects to cloud via a WiFi network. That's where the data is analyzed for and interpreted as heartbeats, breaths, and so on. According to Bam Labs website the WiFi-enabled gateway device can track multiple beds.

The data can later be viewed via an online dashboard, iOS app, or Android app, showing trends in sleep quality and duration. Technology Review points out that sharing the bed with other people or pets could confuse the sensor.

Bam Labs first marketed the sensor to nursing homes under the name Touch-free Life Care (TLC) to track those at-risk for falling out of bed or wandering at night. Staff could track the elderly and be notified on their smartphones about an awake patient. The company has plans to market to acute-care situations and home users beginning next year. Next year it also plans to market the device for managing chronic conditions.

Bam Labs, which was founded in 2006, raised $2.4 million in March.

Other startups working in the sleep monitoring space include Zeo, and NovaSom. Activity monitoring companies that also offer basic sleep monitoring functions include Jawbone Up and FitBit.

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