Amazon may be working on an Alexa-enabled device that could potentially track sleep and detect sleep apnea, according to a Business Insider report.
Referring to anonymous sources and an internal Amazon document, Business Insider claims that the device is about the size of a person’s palm and looks like a hexagonal cushion with a metal wire base. It is meant to be placed on a person’s bedside table. The interesting thing is that the device will reportedly be contactless and use millimeter wave radar to track breathing and movement during sleep to detect if someone may have sleep apnea. The device will probably also connect to other devices, as well as have a companion app for alerts. Internally, the project is supposedly called “Brahms”, after the composer Johannes Brahms. You know, the guy known for writing lullabies, possibly because he, too, suffered from obstructive sleep apnea.
The report goes on to note that over the past year, Amazon has expanded the team responsible for building this device, and plans to build a “sleep analysis” program that goes beyond sleep apnea.
Gizmodo reached out to Amazon regarding Business Insider’s report, but did not receive an immediate response.
If true, this is not very surprising news. In recent months, Amazon has signaled many times that it is interested in expanding healthcare and portable technology.. Since November, Amazon has launched its Amazon Pharmacy service, added training tracking features to his Echo Buds, and also launched Hello, the very first training tracker.
The fact that Amazon may be targeting sleep apnea also makes sense. Sleep tracking devices are not new, and to stand out, Amazon is likely to offer a feature that is not currently available. Of the medical conditions that health and portable technology may be able to detect, sleep apnea is still up, an estimated 22 million Americans, and is not particularly easy to officially diagnose. Apple claimed its share of atrial fibrillation via an ECG app way back in 2018 with the Apple Watch Series 4 – and it took until 2020 for Fitbit and Samsung to catch up. Samsung has focused strongly on monitoring of blood pressure. Meanwhile, Fitbit has been banging on about potentially detecting sleep apnea for many years now, starting with the introduction of SpO2 sensors in Ionic smartwatch. However, it was not until the beginning of 2020 when it finally published the calculation of estimated oxygen variation. At the time, Fitbit noted that it was seeks FDA approval for a function for detecting sleep apnea. Withings also announced his ScanWatch smartwatch last year, which also claimed to detect sleep apnea, although it is still awaiting FDA approval. Here we are a year later, and crickets.
On top of that, sleep tracking has become an increasingly desirable feature, despite questions of total accuracy. Apple finally introduced native sleep tracking with watchOS 7 in 2020. Recovery-focused, portable sleep tracking as Whoop and Oura Ring also nappet headlines last year, in part because these devices were used in studies to see if they could detect covid-19. In any case, the global market for sleep tracking devices is expected to grow almost 16% to $ 43.5 billion by 2026. You know Amazon wants a part of it.