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Improving driving safety with alarms triggered by impending sleep state, detected via brain signals: Key Neurotech Patent #11

sleep state alarm

– Illus­tra­tive image from U.S. Patent No. 6,497,658

As men­tioned, we are fea­tur­ing a foun­da­tion­al Per­va­sive Neu­rotech patent a day, from old­er to new­er by issue date. Today we are shar­ing a 2002 patent core to the field of dri­ving safe­ty.

U.S. Patent No. 6,497,658: Alarm upon detec­tion of impend­ing sleep state

  • Inventor(s): Michael F. Roizen, Lawrence J. Got­tlieb, Avery Tung
  • Tech­nol­o­gy Cat­e­go­ry: EEG
  • Issue Date: Decem­ber 24, 2002

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘658 patent presents EEG tech­nol­o­gy applied to the field of sleep, with an appli­ca­tion geared less towards improved sleep states and more towards increased vig­i­lance dur­ing awake but sleepy states that may be nec­es­sary for exam­ple with vehi­cle oper­a­tors. The back­ground of the spec­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly reviews relat­ed dis­clo­sures in the field of sleep vig­i­lance — both EEG and non-EEG based — and iden­ti­fies short­com­ings in the pri­or art that are addressed with teach­ings of the ‘658 patent. Such short­com­ings include aspects relat­ed to the lack of real-time wake­fu­le­ness mon­i­tor­ing and phys­i­cal appa­ra­tus­es that may be cum­ber­some to the wear­er of the device. Despite a spec­i­fi­ca­tion with only one page of illus­tra­tions (that has two fig­ures) and only four pages of writ­ten mate­r­i­al, the pre­sen­ta­tion of an impor­tant EEG appli­ca­tion (e.g., wake­ful­ness vig­i­lence) and sev­en inde­pen­dent claims (out of a total of 22 claims) are amongst the fac­tors mak­ing the ‘658 patent a key non-inva­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy patent.


The present inven­tion mon­i­tors a phys­i­o­log­i­cal process intrin­sic to humans and which mea­sures direct­ly the approach of a sleep state. When sleep onset is detect­ed, the sub­ject is restored to a ful­ly awake state by an alert mech­a­nism. Sleep onset is deter­mined by mon­i­tor­ing EEG and EMG sig­nals of the sub­ject with a bi spec­tral index mon­i­tor and apply­ing an analy­sis algo­rithm to the index val­ues out­put by the mon­i­tor. As a per­son tires, the val­ue of their bi spec­tral index begins to drop and then oscil­late back and forth between two dis­crete lev­els. This pat­tern is con­sis­tent among var­i­ous sub­jects and indi­cates an ear­ly warn­ing of impend­ing sleep, before a dan­ger­ous loss of vig­i­lance has occurred.

Illus­tra­tive Claim 1. A method of detect­ing sleep onset and pre­vent­ing sleep, the method com­pris­ing:

  • plac­ing a plu­ral­i­ty of con­tact leads on a sub­ject that detect elec­troen­cephalo­gram (EEG) data;
  • trans­mit­ting the EEG data to a pro­cess­ing device;
  • ana­lyz­ing the EEG data for a sleep onset con­di­tion by deriv­ing numer­i­cal index val­ues indica­tive of wake­ful­ness of the sub­ject and assess­ing at least one of: the num­ber of lev­el tran­si­tions of the numer­i­cal index val­ues per unit time, and the length of time spent at or below the low­er val­ue of a pre­de­ter­mined tran­si­tion range; and
  • alert­ing the sub­ject when an sleep onset con­di­tion is detect­ed.

To learn more about mar­ket data, trends and lead­ing com­pa­nies in the dig­i­tal brain health space –dig­i­tal plat­forms for brain/ cog­ni­tive assess­ment, mon­i­tor­ing and enhance­ment– check out this mar­ket report. To learn more about our analy­sis of 10,000+ patent fil­ings, check out this IP & inno­va­tion neu­rotech report.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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