Finnish computer science students designed an Android application, which helps to identify the signs of sleep apnea at home. Joni Gardemeister, Jonatan von Martens, and Sowrov Doha, who study artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science at Aalto University, developed the app in collaboration with Tapani Salmi, PhD, a specialist in clinical neurophysiology and sleep medicine.

The ApneaTracker application, developed by the team, monitors the user’s snoring through a microphone and the sleeping position using the sensors of a smartphone or smartwatch.

“Sensors on smart devices are sensitive and reliable. However, when performing a home recording, it is not possible to control that the user performs the measurement under optimal conditions. The accuracy of the apnea alerts has not been yet studied. Fortunately, the application makes it easy to make repeated measurements, which compensates for the situation and increases the reliability of the results,” says Gardemeister, in a release.

In the morning, the app forms an overall result of the night’s events, giving an idea of the amount of snoring and the number of breathing pauses in different positions. The results are saved in the application, making it easy to track them over a longer period.

ApneaTracker is based entirely on the features of an Android smart device; hence, the user does not need any additional devices. “It allows you to examine your own snoring, pauses in breathing and sleeping at home on a low threshold,” Gardemeister says.

The application is based on years of research work aimed at identifying breathing disorders and developing algorithms and led by Salmi.The accuracy of the methods has been studied at Helsinki University Central Hospital and the results have been published in the United States in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, Salmi says, adding, “I suppose ApneaTracker is the first project that helps monitor and treat a disease this common with the use of a mobile device.”

The developers emphasize that ApneaTracker is not a medical device but an application that promotes health, sleep, and well-being. However, with the help of feedback collected from users, its usability and reliability can be improved and developed. People interested in the app can presently download the beta version for free from Google Play app store.

Image courtesy Aalto University/ Matti Ahlgren