Tracking sleep with a self-powering smart pillow
Sleep quality plays an essential role in human health and has become an index for assessing physical health. Self-powered, sensitive, noninvasive, comfortable, and low-cost sleep monitoring sensors for monitoring sleep behavior are still in high demand. Here, a pressure-sensitive, noninvasive, and comfortable smart pillow is developed based on a flexible and breathable triboelectric nanogenerator (FB-TENG) sensor array, which can monitor head movement in real time during sleep. The FB-TENG is based on flexible and breathable porous poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) with a fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) powder and exhibits pressure sensitivity and durability. The electrical output of the FB-TENG is further optimized by modifying the porous structure and the FEP powder. Combining the FB-TENG and the flexible printed circuit (FPC), a self-powered pressure sensor array is fabricated to realize touch sensing and motion track monitoring. The smart pillow is formed by laying the self-powered pressure sensor array on an ordinary pillow to realize real-time monitoring of the head position in a static state and head movement trajectory in a dynamic state during sleep. Additionally, the smart pillow also has an early warning function for falling out of bed. This work not only provides a viable sensing device for sleep monitoring but also could be extended to real-time monitoring of some diseases, such as brain diseases and cervical spondylosis, in the future. It is expected to introduce a practical strategy in the real-time mobile healthcare field for disease management.