Home Fitbit It’s you not the dog; Fitbit researching snoring detection and measurement

It’s you not the dog; Fitbit researching snoring detection and measurement

fitbit snoring detection

Fitbit is planning to take its sleep monitoring features to the next level by introducing snoring detection and measurement.

According to a patent approved today, the company highlights processes and methods that can be used to detect when a user is snoring and provide measurement metrics related to it, including snoring intensity and corresponding respiratory metrics.

How would the snoring detection and monitoring work?

The central idea is to use a microphone port on the Fitbit to capture an audio sign while you are sleeping.

The Sleep monitoring algorithm analyzes the audio frame and generates sleep-related information, wherein the information identifies one or more sounds as potential sources of sleep disruption. Fitbit Sense Biocore sensor with EDA

The algorithms are responsible for extracting a set of features based on the spectrum of frequencies represented by the audio frame; pass the frequencies to a machine learning model; and obtain information describing the one or more sounds from the machine learning model. 

Furthermore, the sleep monitoring improvements tag the sleep stage details corresponding to the time of maximum snoring intensity.

It also tells in which sleeping position did you start snoring.

Fitbit Snoring pose determination

The sleep-related information generates a baseline noise level while the user was asleep, an average noise level while the user was asleep, the highest noise level, or a total count of sounds detected. 

Existing PPG sensor data are used to co-relate the collected information in the form of audio frames.

Related Reading:

Fitbit Snoring Detection Features coming

05/27/2021 

We have learned from a recent scoop that Fitbit is getting ready to introduce snore and noise detection on their upcoming software update.

With “Snore & Noise Detect” enabled, your Fitbit will turn its microphone on when it detects that you’ve fallen asleep, then begin listening to the ambient noise including your potential snoring.

Fitbit Snoring detection
Source: 9to5Google

According to the documentation embedded in Fitbit’s 3.2 update, here is how this new feature would work:

How does Snore & Noise Detect work?

During sleep, the microphone on your Fitbit device can monitor noise, including snores from you or someone next to you. Throughout the night, we look for:

• Sound intensity: We analyze noise level (how loud or quiet it is) to determine the baseline noise level.
• Snoring events: We look for snore-specific noises. When our algorithm detects an event that’s louder than the baseline noise level, it performs a calculation to decide if it’s snoring or something else. If the noise level in your room is louder than the snoring, this feature may not be able to pick up the snoring.

Based on the noise detection, Fitbit’s algorithms classify an user’s snoring in the following manner:

The Noise Level chart shows the volume in your sleeping environment including snoring and other ambient noise. This information comes from the acoustic pressure measured by the microphone on your Fitbit device. You may see:

• “Very quiet” (30 dBA or lower)
• “Quiet” (30–50 dBA)
• “Moderate” (50–70 dBA)
• “Loud” (70–90 dBA)
• “Very loud (90 dBA or higher)

The new snoring detection algorithm also introduces a new concept called “Your Sleep animal”.

That said, there are quite a few sleeping profiles in the app, between straightforward descriptions and cute animal comparisons.

Fitbit Sleep Animal profile
Image Source: 9to5Google.com
  • Restless Sleeper (The bear )
  • Segmented Sleeper ( The Dolphin)
  • Shallow Sleeper (The Giraffe)
  • Short Sleeper ( The Hummingbird)
  • Slow to Fall Asleep Sleeper ( The Kangaroo)
  • Solid Sleeper ( The Tortoise)
 

Given that this new feature uses the built-in microphone on the Fitbit wearable, the feature may only be available in the larger and newer Fitbit devices such as the Versa or Sense as opposed to the thinner activity bands.

It is also safe to assume that the snoring detection feature will be a part of the upcoming wearOS health features which will leverage the health and wellness features offered by Fitbit, as per Google’s announcement at the Google I/O event this year.

At this point,  it is unclear if Fitbit will add these enhanced sleep monitoring features to all devices or if it will include them as a part of their Premium subscription platform.

How does it know it’s you and not the dog?

If you were wondering how the process distinguish the snoring sound between two different individuals in the room, the following describes their process of identifying the user with the snoring issue 🙂

“In various embodiments, measurements taken by each PPG sensor can be used to determine (or estimate) a respective breathing (or respiratory) phase for the user based on generally known techniques.

In such embodiments, an amount of correlation can be determined between the user’s breathing phase based on measurements captured by a PPG sensor and the breathing phase of the entity based on the audio data, as determined by the audio-based breathing determination module 304. 

If a threshold correlation exists, the user of the wearable device can be determined to be the source of the snores captured in the audio data”

This patent, 20200383633, was originally filed on June 2nd 2020 and was approved today.

For users interested in Sleep monitoring and related respiratory metrics, the detailed Fitbit patent provides lot of interesting insights and is worth a read.

What’s next?

Fitbit is not alone to evaluate advances in the area of sleep monitoring. Withings has been working hard to get its FDA approval on the new watch that can detect Sleep apnea.

Other tech companies such as Google’s Verily have also been engaged in different aspects of sleep monitoring.

I am a technologist with years of experience with Apple and wearOS products and have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. In my day job, I advise fortune 500 companies with their digital transformation strategies and also consult with numerous digital health startups in an advisory capacity. I'm VERY interested in exploring the digital health&fitness-tech evolution and keep a close eye on patents, FDA approvals, strategic partnerships and developments happening in the wearables and digital health sector. When I'm not writing or presenting, I run with my Apple Watch or Fossil Gen 5 LTE and keep a close eye on my HRV and other recovery metrics.

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