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Smart Snore Detecting Devices - Patents & Perspectives

Snoring, a form of tensed breathing, interferes with quality and quantity of sleep, both for the person who snores and for the person who sleeps with the snorer. Disordered sleep caused by snoring can create significant physical, mental, and economic problems.

Humans have been trying to withhold snoring for literally thousands of years, and we have focused on developing straps, pillows, and prods that make it difficult for snorers to sleep on their backs; nose plugs or nasal strips to widen our nasal airways, or in the case of plugs provide EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure); and chin straps or mouth inserts to change the position of our jaws, or even move our tongues forward.

It’s important to get to the reason behind the snoring to make sure it’s not a medical condition, such as Sleep Apnea. People whose snoring is caused by severe sleep apnea have a 40% greater chance of dying early than their peers and there are severe conditions that are generally found in people with this disease -

  • Stroke (intensity of snoring was related to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, narrowing of the arteries in the neck due to fatty deposits called plaque — and as a result, stroke)

  • Heart Disease

  • Arrhythmias (people with sleep apnea are more likely to have episodes of atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, than people without it or people whose apnea is treated with CPAP. Apnea may affect the conductive system of the heart)

  • GERD (People who have sleep apnea also may have GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) because of the disordered way in which their throat closes while air moves in and out during sleep, causing pressure changes that can suck the contents of their stomach back up into the esophagus)

  • Nocturia (men over the age of 55 who wake up often to urinate may have both benign prostate enlargement and obstructive sleep apnea),

  • Fetal Complications

  • Excess weight gain

Smart Snore Detecting Devices

A novel wearable gadget SnoreLab records snoring sounds while sleeping and is developed to apply a vibration notification on the upper arm until the snorer sleeps on the side. Unlike an alarm sound, as the vibration is only applied to the snorer, the gadget doesn’t disturb any other person who is sleeping near the snorer. The gadget is low power, rechargeable, and it is wirelessly connected to the listener module using Bluetooth low energy. A smartphone app—connected with the listener module using home Wi-Fi—is developed to start/stop a snoring session, and to log the snoring events with timestamps.

  • As discussed above, about 75% of people who snore, they suffer from disrupted breathing during sleep for short periods—known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Severe sleep apnea carries a significant risk of early death, but even mild to moderate sleep disorders can be related to heart disease, diabetes, reduced sexual function, obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease, arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm), headache, nocturia (wake at night several times to urinate) and stroke. The proposed gadget will notify the snorer by vibration and compel them to sleep on their side. Moreover, the logged snoring data can be used to diagnose and monitor OSA and other diseases by the physicians.

  • Poor quality and disordered sleep reduce memory, thinking skills, and the ability to manage conflict. Lack of sleep can make a person irritable, short-tempered, and depressed. The proposed gadget will reduce snoring, increase sleep quality, and facilitate better mental health.

  • In the United States, insufficient sleep and sleep disorders account for $411 billion in economic losses and represent 2.28% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually. This device can improve sleep quality and reduce economic loss.

Smart Nora uses hardware that is placed on a nearby table, listens for snoring. Once detected, another piece of hardware placed under the pillow starts to move in order to stimulate the throat muscles for breathing. This system will slightly move the person’s head when it catches him snoring. Smart Nora includes a wireless, mic-equipped device that can sit bedside or be mounted on your wall to detect snoring. Once it does that, Smart Nora communicates with an under-bed base station that pumps air through a tube to an insert that lives inside the pillow. That motion gently adjusts the head position to reduce snoring.

Another built-in electronic is a Smart Pillow. Some smart pillows are meant to deter snoring, others act as sleep tracks, and a few smart pillows, like the ZEEQ, aim to dump every possible smart pillow feature into a single package. Created by the active lifestyle bedding brand REM-Fit, ZEEQ is an innovative smart pillow that not only tracks sleep, but automatically intervenes in the night to help sleep more soundly. It comes with a washable, branded pillowcase and is attached to a small, white remote. Inside, it’s jam-packed with technology that includes eight miniature Bluetooth speakers, adjustable memory foam pieces, a decibel-tuned microphone that monitors snoring, two adjustable vibration motors, and a three-axis gyroscope that tracks motion while the user is asleep. Even while the person is sleeping, the pillow continues to work. If a person begins to snore, the pillow’s two motors gently vibrate, encouraging him to roll over into a position where he will stop snoring.

ZEEQ determines the optimal time in the sleep cycle to wake up, at the point where the user can use the app to review his real-time snoring, rest and sleep scoring data.

Itamar Medical WatchPAT ONE made a few waves, promising to listen for snoring and with internal motors. The product comprises a chest sensor which consists of a snore sensor and a chest movement sensor. The snore sensor is an acoustic decibel detector and uses a sensitive microphone that responds to snoring and other sounds in the audio range and converts them to a signal that provides an indication of the presence of these sounds. The chest sensor uses a 3-axis accelerometer that provides a signal reflecting the movement of the chest, which can be translated both to the patient's sleeping posture (supine, prone, right, left and sit) and to the chest movement signal resulted by the subject’s breathing during the night.

Fitbit provides Snore Detect, an app for Fitbit Versa 2, which uses the microphone on Versa 2 to identify snores along with the intensity and duration of the snores. Fitbit versa 2 currently is beta-testing a feature that will tell a smartwatch wearer if it notices snoring. Snore Detect uses the device’s microphone to note sounds and reports on the duration and intensity of snoring. Eventually, Fitbit hopes to be able to track changes in oxygen levels in the bloodstream to help identify potential breathing problems especially that of obstructive sleep apnea.

Hupnos is a lightweight microfiber sleep mask that comes with a silicone nose piece plus breathing valves. It's basically an EPAP (Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure) device but enhanced by various sensors. Hupnos works by detecting the sleeping position and snoring. If a person is indeed sawing logs while lying flat, the mask will send vibrational cues to change their sleeping position, in the hopes of immediately stopping the snoring. Hupnos will then close the expiratory valve by way of a motorized lever covering the hole to increase the exhalation pressure, thus clearing the airway to reduce snoring.

The smart part about Hupnos is that this is all controlled by the iOS or Android app via Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and likewise, the mask sends back sleep quality data as well as triggering audio recording for snoring. Based on the sleep data, Hupnos can better determine when to send out vibrations or whether to increase the pressure. The app also lets a person punch in factors like smoking, coffee or alcohol, so that one can observe how these may affect their sleep. On a full charge, Hupnos can monitor at least 20 hours of sleep, which should be good for about three nights for most people; just plug it into a micro-USB cable when charging is needed.

Top 10 Players

The chart is a depiction of top 10 players in the market which were assigned patents in the smart snore detection device industry. ResMed is the top player to attain 24 patents in the smart snore detection device industry. Closely behind are RIC Investments with 11 patents and Xiamen Tuwan Intelligent Technology with 9 patents. Panasonic and Sanyo Electric are at equivalence with 6 patents each.

Seminal Patents

1. US20170361044A1 - Methods and apparatus for treatment of respiratory disorders

Assignee: ResMed Limited

The patent discloses a method and apparatus for treating a respiratory disorder. The apparatus comprises a pressure generator configured to generate a supply of air at positive pressure to an airway of the patient, a sensor to generate data representing a property of the supply of air, and a controller configured to control the pressure generator to generate the supply of air at a positive treatment pressure that oscillates in synchrony with the patient's spontaneous respiratory efforts. Further, the controller is configured to compute a measure indicative of ventilation of the patient from the sensor data, compute the pressure support so as to bring the measure indicative of ventilation towards target ventilation that is dependent on the measure indicative of ventilation, and control the pressure generator to deliver backup breaths at a backup rate in the absence of significant spontaneous respiratory efforts from the patient, wherein the backup rate increases from a spontaneous backup rate to a sustained timed backup rate.

2. US7246619B2 - Snore detecting method and apparatus

Assignee: RIC Investments LLC

The patent teaches a method and apparatus for detecting disordered breathing in a patient. The apparatus is used for detecting patient snoring and/or for dynamically determining a snore detection threshold. The apparatus comprises a pressure support system that uses the unique snore detection and/or snore detection dynamic adjustment technique to control the pressure provided at the patient. The snore detector further detects a first and second vibration from a plurality of vibrations defining a single snore event that occurs during the respiratory cycle of such a patient responsive to the filtered digital signal exceeding the threshold value.


Habitual snoring is a prevalent condition that is not only a marker of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) but can also lead to vascular risk. However, it is not easy to check snoring status at home. These smart devices may not seem like much, but to a subset of snorers and those in their lives, it might mean the world. More importantly, even if these early pieces of smart anti-snoring tech are limited in their utility, they offer a path forward for future iterations—towards responsiveness, learning, and adaptable therapies. This flexibility will work far better to address the diverse types of snoring and their causes, and work better for the varied sorts of sleepers out there than the old, fixed anti-snoring tech that has for centuries defined our attempts to sleep peacefully—and quietly.












Sleep apnea, snore detection, snore sensors, Smart wearable devices, Smart pillow, Health risks, e-gadgets, Fitbit, Sleep disorders, microfibres, anti-snoring technology, OSA

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