Sweet dreams: Apple might make its own sleep-tracking mattress and blanket

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With its new Apple Watch feature, Apple is getting deeper into sleep tracking.
Coming soon to a bedroom near you?
Photo: bruce mars/Pexels CC

The iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and … Apple Blanket and iMattress? That might not sound like the next logical step for Cupertino, but an Apple patent application published Thursday describes a blanket, mattress and, err, camera setup that would monitor users’ vital signs as they catch forty winks.

In addition to sleep-tracking, this could measure users’ movements during sleep, their heart rate, and their body and room temperatures during the night. It could then heat up or cool down accordingly.

This monitoring system could come equipped with electrodes, piezoelectric and temperature sensors, and accelerometers, according to the patent application:

“Based on the measured values, the monitoring system can analyze the user’s sleep, provide feedback and suggestions to the user, and/or can adjust or control the environmental conditions to improve the user’s sleep.”

The patent also claims that it could distinguish between multiple people who are potentially lying under or on top of it. Being able to distinguish between users in this way would be crucial for any kind of technology such as this.

Sleep-tracking mat 1
Here’s how Apple’s sleep-tracking tech could work.
Photo: USPTO/Apple

Doing some of this sensing may rely on a camera setup that’s also mentioned in the application. Apple writes that this camera system could be used to determine the position of the user’s body and their body temperature. (How filming people in their sleep would go over with privacy-conscious Apple users isn’t clear.)

Mattresses and beyond: Apple’s focus on sleep

Apple’s interest in sleep-tracking isn’t totally unsurprising. Apple acquired Finnish company Beddit, which makes a sleep-tracking sensor strip, in May 2017. At the end of 2018, a new Beddit sleep monitor launched. This was the first version since Apple acquired the company. The hardware consists of a sensor strip users wrap around their mattress. It can then record movements, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and bedroom temperature and humidity. From the sound of things, this latest patent may cover similar ground to Beddit. However, it seems like it may take things even further.

By incorporating health-tracking features, Apple would also solve the biggest issue with its current health-oriented focus: That very few people wear their Apple Watch at night. Tim Cook has previously said he thinks Apple’s healthcare focus could be its lasting legacy.

Via: Apple Insider