The gold standard for diagnosing sleep apnea — a disease which affects roughly one in 13 Americans — requires an overnight hospital stay and costs thousands of dollars. The patient sleeps in a strange bed, gets hooked up to a tangle of wires and undergoes an intensive polysomnography test to count how many times a night he or she struggles to breathe. By contrast, a new app developed at the University of Washington uses a smartphone to wirelessly test for sleep apnea events in a person’s own bedroom. Unlike other home sleep apnea tests in use today, ApneaApp uses inaudible sound waves emanating from the phone’s speakers to track breathing patterns without needing special equipment or sensors attached to the body.
Provided by the University of Washington