Tuesday November 19, 2019

New Smart Speaker that Tracks Baby’s Breathing Using White Noise

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin from Washington University, develops a new smart speaker to monitor movement in babies

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Smart Speaker
Researchers, have developed a new smart speaker skill that lets a device use white noise to both soothe sleeping babies and monitor their breathing and movement. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin from Washington University, have developed a new smart speaker skill that lets a device use white noise to both soothe sleeping babies and monitor their breathing and movement.

White noise is a combination of different sound frequencies, which makes a seemingly random soothing sound that can help cover up other noises that might wake up a sleeping baby.

“If we could use this white noise feature as a contactless way to monitor infants’ hand and leg movements, breathing and crying, then the smart speaker becomes a device that can do it all, which is really exciting,” said Indian-origin researcher and study co-author Shyam Gollakota, Associate Professor at Washington University.

Smart Speaker
White Noise feature as a contactless way to monitor infants’ hand and leg movements, breathing and crying, then the smart speaker becomes a device that can do it all (Representational Image). Pixabay

To use white noise as a breathing monitor, the team needed to develop a method to detect tiny changes between the white noise a smart speaker plays and the white noise that gets reflected back from the infant’s body into the speaker’s array of microphones.

The prototype device, called BreathJunior, tracks both small motions — such as the chest movement involved in breathing — and large motions — such as babies moving around in their cribs. It can also pick up the sound of a baby crying.

The prototype device was first tested on an infant simulator showing the system could accurately detect respiratory rates between 20 and 60 breaths per minute.

BreathJunior was then tested on five babies in a neonatal intensive care unit, with the babies connected to wired respiratory monitors for comparison.

Again, the system proved accurate, tracking respiratory rates up to 65 breaths per minute, closely matching the rates detected by wired, hospital-grade devices.

“We start out by transmitting a random white noise signal. But we are generating this random signal, so we know exactly what the randomness is,” said study author Anran Wang.

“That signal goes out and reflects off the baby. Then the smart speaker’s microphones get a random signal back. Because we know the original signal, we can cancel out any randomness from that and then we’re left with only information about the motion from the baby,” Wang said.

Smart Speaker
Smart Speaker monitors Baby’s Breathing and Crying. Pixabay

“BreathJunior holds potential for parents who want to use white noise to help their child sleep and who also want a way to monitor their child’s breathing and motion,” Wang added.

While BreathJunior currently uses white noise to track breathing and motion, the researchers would like to expand its capabilities so that it could also use other soothing sounds like lullabies.

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The study is scheduled to be presented at the MobiCom 2019 conference in Los Cabos, Mexico on October 22. (IANS)

Next Story

Xiaomi Smartphones Sold in India are Made in The Country Itself

Xiaomi phones in India are manufactured mainly by Taiwanese giant Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd

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Xiaomi
Xiaomi said it has also started exporting phones made in India to Bangladesh and Nepal. Wikimedia Commons

Almost all of the phones that Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi sells in India are made in the country, a top company executive said here on Monday, stressing that ‘make in India’ Xiaomi smartphones are now being exported to other countries too, though at a small scale.

“About 99 per cent of the phones sold in India are made in the country. We make three phones per second,” Muralikrishnan B, Chief Operating Officer, Xiaomi India, told reporters here.

Xiaomi phones in India are manufactured mainly by Taiwanese giant Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd.

The manufacturing is being done at Xiaomi’s two facilities — one at the Sri City special economic zone in Andhra Pradesh and the other at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.

Xiaomi said it has also started exporting phones made in India to Bangladesh and Nepal.

“We have started exporting to these two countries at a small scale. With more government incentives, we plan to scale up the export of ‘make in India’ phones,” Muralikrishnan noted.

“We will have to see if we can manage the entire logistics. Ultimately, we will have to realise that cost efficiency also matters,” he added.

The COO of India’s biggest smartphone seller said that there are various issues hindering export of its ‘make in India’ products to other countries including certification issues and low rate of duty drawbacks.

“BIS certification is not accepted in many parts of the world. If the government can make BIS certification accepted in countries in Europe, it would help us scale,” he said, adding that India has a lot to learn from Vietnam in terms of incentivising domestic manufacturing.

Xiaomi
Almost all of the phones that Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi sells in India are made in the country, a top company executive said here on Monday, stressing that ‘make in India’ Xiaomi smartphones are now being exported to other countries too, though at a small scale. Pixabay

About 65 per cent of Xiaomi phone components are also sourced from within the country.

“In terms of manufacturing, the progress that India has made in the past 5 years is phenomenal,” said Foxconn India Country Manager Josh Foulger.

Besides initiatives under ‘Make in India’, the corporate tax relief and improvement in ease of doing business have helped a lot, he added.

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Significantly, all the operators at Foxconn’s Sri City facility for Xiaomi are women. The facility employs over 15,000 people. (IANS)