The device employs a smart biosensor and artificial intelligence to diagnose sleep apnea at home using a smartphone application.


Summary: Researchers at UNIST in Korea have developed an abdominal-worn device, Soomirang, to diagnose sleep apnea at home using a smartphone app. The device, which employs electromagnetic wave sensors and AI for real-time data analysis, has been granted regulatory approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. This innovation offers a convenient and accurate alternative to traditional sleep studies conducted in clinical settings.

Key Takeaways:

  • The abdominal-worn device for diagnosing sleep apnea, developed by researchers at UNIST in Korea, has received regulatory approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. 
  • Soomirang employs sensors based on electromagnetic waves within the Soomirang smartphone application, achieving a sleep apnea diagnosis accuracy rate exceeding 91% compared to traditional sleep facility methods, according to the company. It uses a smart biosensor and artificial intelligence for real-time data analysis.
  • By attaching the sensor to the abdomen and using a smartphone app, individuals can monitor their sleep data at home.

An abdominal-worn device designed by researchers at UNIST in Korea to diagnose sleep apnea at home utilizing a smartphone application has been granted regulatory approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

The home sleep apnea test, Soomirang, employs sensors based on electromagnetic waves embedded within the Soomirang smartphone application. This system can detect changes in a variety of biomarkers through a smart biosensor, yielding a sleep apnea diagnosis with an accuracy rate surpassing 91% when compared to conventional testing methods performed at sleep facilities, according to a release from the company.

By attaching the sensor to the abdomen, individuals can monitor their sleep data, which is analyzed via a smartphone app. This technology operates from sensor attachment to real-time data analysis powered by artificial intelligence.

Addressing Testing Challenges and Costs

Diagnosing sleep apnea has posed challenges due to the inconvenience and high costs associated with conventional testing methods. Moreover, health insurance policies in Korea further complicated matters by restricting individuals to only one sleep test per year.

“However, this new diagnostic system offers a more accurate and convenient approach for individuals to monitor their sleep health, showcasing the potential for advancements in the field of sleep medicine through its detection of sleep apnea using smart biosensor technology,” reads a release from UNIST. “With its compact design and user-friendly interface, the system has the potential to improve the lives of individuals struggling with sleep disorders by providing prompt and precise diagnosis and treatment options.”

Regulatory Approval 

Following the development of the technology, the research team—led by professor Franklin Bien, PhD, of the UNIST Department of Electrical Engineering—obtained approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

“Our research aims to enhance individuals’ health and well-being through innovative biosensor technology. The approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is a major milestone in establishing the credibility of our technology,” says Bien in a release.

SB Solutions Inc, a tech startup associated with UNIST and founded by Bien, is engaged in commercializing various medical devices through collaborative development. 

Photo caption: The image above shows Soomirang, designed to collect biometric data and analyze sleep patterns, attached to the abdomen.

Photo credit: Professor Franklin Bien (Department of Electrical Engineering, UNIST)