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Human Research Program

LumosTech Smart Sleep Mask for Circadian Realignment in Space and on Earth

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

LumosTech Smart Sleep Mask for Circadian Realignment in Space and on Earth
With National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) SMARTCAP funding, LumosTech is building a smart, wearable eye mask that can improve sleep by adjusting circadian rhythm. Based on proof-of-concept research from Stanford University, the LumosTech smart sleep mask uses advanced light therapy while the user is sleeping. With this technology, we can help astronauts optimize their sleep schedules in the absence of natural light, assist ground crew adjusting to work-related sleep changes, and increase alertness after wake-up. On Earth, misalignment of the circadian system is common and regularly observed during travel across time zones (jet lag), in shift work, and with teenagers, elderly individuals, and infants. The use of continuous bright light to shift circadian rhythm is well established, but is disruptive to daily activities and misses the circadian clock's peak sensitivity, which most often occurs during sleeping hours. Our technology is effective during sleep without causing sleep disruptions and uses short light pulses, reducing side effects from continuous bright light therapy, such as headaches and strained eyes. Our primary objective for this project was to develop a portable and personalizable smart mask prototype able to be easily programmed with our companion smartphone app. During the course of this project, we investigated and optimized the mask form factor through feedback from over 400 potential users via in-person interviews and surveys. Specifically, we targeted frequent travelers journeying at least 2000 miles, which results in approximately three hours of circadian misalignment. We found high willingness to pay for the technology, but comfort during sleep was paramount. This finding was further supported during our testing of commercially available sleep masks augmented with light flash technology. Most masks were uncomfortable and fell off during the night. We modified existing sleep masks and determined the most optimal sleep mask design. We also tested light therapy efficacy and user interactions with the companion smartphone app. Working with an industrial designer, we produced several concept mock-ups of a sleep mask that was both comfortable and able to incorporate our hardware. Finally, we began production of prototype units based on our new sleep mask design. Synchronously, we iterated on our companion phone app based on regular user feedback. During the upcoming year, our team will continue to validate the technology in additional markets and refine the sleep mask concept. With our device, we will be able to easily shift sleep cycles in multiple environments, including on the space station. More »

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