Machine learning and Big Data have worked their way into almost every corner of the technology world and industries well beyond it. Media coverage has explored the myriad ways that the latest innovations are changing the way we live. Now machine learning and Big Data technology are poised to change the way we sleep at night.
An intractable problem
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, nearly 70 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep disorder. It’s a massive health crisis that’s associated with a wide range of negative health effects, from increased risk of diabetes and cancer to death from secondary events like automobile accidents and the like. Helping people get enough quality nightly rest has the potential to increase public health as well as save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.
The Big Data approach
As with many other areas of scientific study, the key to advancement is information. In the case of sleep studies, that means having access to sleep tracking data. That’s where the technology firm Fullpower comes in. Its AI-powered sleep-tracking technology is at the heart of several commercially available sleep tracking products, including the Jawbone UP and the Nike Fuel wearable devices. Devices using Fullpower technologies send telemetry and user data back to the company, which has created a database comprising information on more than 250 million nights of sleep.
Sleep pattern data isn’t limited to academic studies. It also informs the latest mattress designs, many of which feature sleep-tracking technologies built right in. By collecting specific user sleep pattern data and comparing it to the conclusions drawn from the existing databases, companies like ReST have started offering mattresses that can react in real time to user movements, temperatures, and sleep cycles – changing firmness and other properties to create the perfect sleep environment.
A valuable market
There are obvious societal benefits to the improvements that Big Data and machine learning make to our collective sleep patterns, but there’s also a huge financial windfall at stake. The global mattress market alone is expected to be worth $43.43 billion annually by 2024, and the global sleep aid market is expected to reach $79.85 billion annually by 2022. Companies that can leverage these nascent Big Data and machine learning technologies to develop products that support a good night’s sleep might come to dominate both of those markets.
While scientists have just begun to work their way through sleep data, they are optimistic that it will yield a breakthrough in the near term, which would have been impossible without the latest in machine learning and Big Data technologies. You might soon wake up after a full night of restful sleep, and have a computer to thank for it.
To learn more about other sectors being shaped by machine learning and Big Data, read Artificial Intelligence Is Changing The Translation Industry. But Will It Work?