BodyCompass sleep posture monitor offers accuracy without cameras

Researchers have developed a sleep posture monitor that doesn't require the subject to wear sensors or mount a camera near their bed. Called BodyCompass, this radio frequency-based system can be used to monitor someone as they sleep, offering insight into the progression of disease symptoms, health risks, and more. The system will be introduced next week at the UbiComp 2020 conference.

Though using technology to monitor one's movements and other activities during sleep isn't a new idea, many existing systems on the market are either intrusive, inaccurate or both. BodyCompass, which was recently detailed by MIT Technology Review ahead of its presentation next week, is different; the system is designed to be mounted on a wall where it uses radio frequencies to monitor someone as they sleep.

The researchers behind the project note that certain health conditions can come with sleep risks, such as epilepsy and the increased risk of death when stomach sleeping, as well as Parkinson's disease and its slow theft of one's ability to roll over while asleep. Monitoring sleep postures can help shed light on disease progression and help patients make better sleep decisions, among other things.

In addition to monitoring a patient to determine how they often sleep at night, including their common postures, the system could also be combined with some type of alert system to intervene when it detects that the patient is sleeping in a dangerous position based on their existing health risks. Such a system could also potentially be used to monitor infants when they sleep and even as a wellness product to keep tabs on one's own sleep habits.

The team recently published a study on the technology, describing a system that utilizes RF signals to figure out the sleeper's posture. The system does this by mapping the signals as they bounce off objects in the room, deciphering them in such a way that they can reveal details about the sleeper while ignoring other objects.