Israeli ‘sleepables’ to boost performance of iFit’s fitness tech

EarlySense’s sleep monitoring technology is joining the wearable revolution, helping users to keep track of their zzz’s

An EarlySense system in action (Courtesy)
An EarlySense system in action (Courtesy)

Wearables that keep a constant eye on a user’s physical condition, exercise, and nutrition habits are all the rage today, with almost every fitness brand (Nike, Adidas) and smartphone maker (Apple, Samsung, many others) coming out with a watch or bracelet that connects to a device or directly to the cloud, uploading raw data on the number of steps taken, the number of calories consumed, heart rate, gait, and other information for analysis, comparison, and storage.

Some of these devices also track and upload sleep habits – but not very well, according to Israeli start-up EarlySense.

To that end, the company has developed the first “sleepable” – a device that, when placed in a mattress, will keep track of how a person sleeps, including whether they toss or turn, the different stages of sleep (REM, etc.), and other important sleep data. The EarlySense sleep monitor solution is to be integrated with technology from iFit, a US-based fitness device firm that produces apps, bracelets, heart monitors, watches, and other wearables to keep track of fitness.

EarlySense started out in the sleep monitoring business in 2004, when it developed a system for hospitals and care centers to keep track of patients sick enough to require continuous tracking, but were unwilling or unable to have wired sensor devices attached to their bodies while they slept. Designed for use in non-emergency room or even home settings, the EarlySense system uses sensors embedded into a mattress or chair cushion to monitor heartbeat, respiration rate, and movement, uploading the data to a server for analysis, or setting off an alarm on a caregiver’s smartphone if something seems wrong. It’s in use in thousands of hospitals, nursing homes and home settings around the world, and according to hospital studies cited by the company, over 90% of staff said that the system was useful in stemming and preventing patient deterioration.

But the company realized it had a solution that would work for the general public as well, and last year, EarlySense teamed up with Korean tech giant Samsung to develop non-medical uses for its technology. Samsung invested $10 million in the company, according to EarlySense’s Liat Tsoref.

“Building upon the success of our contact-free monitoring solution in the hospital setting, our core technology can make a similar impact for consumers who want key information on their overall wellness. Our solution can benefit everyone in taking better care of themselves and their loved ones,” Tsoref said.

Now, working with a company like iFit is the next logical step in the company’s evolution, said Tsoref. “We are excited about our integration with the iFit technology platform, as iFit shares our vision on how the IoT can be harnessed to enhance people’s health. Our technology, which has been proven in the hospital environment, answers the market need for accurate home-wellness tracking and empowers and motivates users.”

EarlySense’s technology will be integrated into mattresses and mattress covers that will be marketed by iFit. On view at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, iFit said that it expected EarlySense’s technology to help users monitor sleep quality and vital signs such as heart rate and respiratory rate. With the system, users can track themselves at night and receive personalized tips to improve sleep and overall wellness, with data uploaded directly to the Internet via wifi, as well as to a user’s device, where they will be able to get information about their sleep “performance.”

“iFit embraces a 360 degree view on personal fitness and wellness to provide a comprehensive picture of overall health,”said Mark Watterson, Director of iFit. “Our solution allows users to easily track personal wellness and activities around the clock. With the addition of EarlySense’s technology, users will have the added benefit of monitoring sleep quality and vital signs that provide a clear indication of health progress.”

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