Next-gen AI could control when humans sleep and wake up with groundbreaking tech

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Scientists have created a groundbreaking artificial intelligence technology which can identify sleep disorders.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have been working on state-of-the-art AI which monitors snoring levels.

The tech, created by Professor Guy Brown and Dr Ning Ma from the University of Sheffield's Speech and Hearing Research Group, has been incorporated into a new app called SoundSleep, available on iOS devices and soon Android.

It records and tracks snoring levels and provides nightly reports to help people discover the causes, factors and solutions.

But the team have now developed the AI to be able to diagnose sleep apnoea caused by sleep disorders.

Dr Ning Ma, research fellow in the University of Sheffield's Department of Computer Science, said: "Getting a good night's sleep is a problem that affects lots of people across the country – whether that be because of a partner who snores loudly, an underlying health problem or due to a factor in a person's lifestyle or night time routine that is affecting how much sleep they get every night.

"We understand that finding that secret to a good night's sleep can seem stressful and confusing, so what we are trying to do with our research is use the latest, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to help people get to the bottom of what is preventing them from getting a good night's sleep as easily as possible."

Sleep apnoea causes a person's breathing to stop and start while they sleep and they may also make gasping, snorting or choking noises, wake up a lot and snore loudly.

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Without treatment the condition can lead to high blood pressure, a higher chance of having a stroke, depression, mood swings, difficulty concentrating at school or work and an increased risk of having a serious accident due to tiredness.

Many sufferers of sleep disorders are not identified until other medical problems become apparent, meaning that they are less likely to make lifestyle changes that could improve their condition without the need for treatment.

As a result, the University of Sheffield researchers launched a project to enhance the AI they had already developed for SoundSleep, so it can identify sleep disorders from the sounds people make while sleeping.

This more sophisticated AI will soon be added to the app so that people can monitor their sleep and identify sleep disorders using their smartphone in their own home.

The app could also help them make changes to their lifestyle or bedtime routine to help them get a better night's sleep, the scientists said.

Iain Spray, project manager at Passion For Life Healthcare, the company that manufactured the app, added: "This technology enabled us to develop an app that stands out in the market in terms of innovation and performance; an app that could, unlike any other snoring management apps, be CE marked as a medical device."

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Science

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