Teddy bear monitoring device for sleeping kids earns provincial honour for former NAIT students
10, Oct, 2023
EDMONTON, Oct. 10, 2023 – Is there a warm, fuzzy approach to ensuring a sleeping child’s well-being? An all-women former team of NAIT biomedical engineering technology students has identified it, transforming a teddy bear into a device that can monitor a sleeping child and inform the parents of specific problems that could impact quality of sleep.
For their invention of Night Knight, former NAIT teammates Denise Alinsasaguin, Paulina Deng and Nicolette Angara have been nominated for the provincial 2023 Capstone Project of the Year Award, which is presented annually by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).
Effectively a smart teddy bear, Night Knight houses a circuit board and has sensors attached. It’s Bluetooth®-enabled, lightweight, portable, kid-friendly, and is intended to sit on a child’s bedside table to alert parents via a smartphone app of potential sleep issues. Designed to monitor children ages four to 10, it offers advanced features, such as movement detection, and humidity and ambient room temperature sensing.
Sleep is an essential building block for a child’s mental and physical health. According to SleepFoundation.org with information from the American Academy of Pediatrics, sleep challenges affect 25 to 50 per cent of children and impact alertness and attention, cognitive performance, mood, resiliency, vocabulary acquisition, and learning and memory. When a child does not receive the required amount of sleep, trouble with paying attention, mood swings, and behaviour and learning problems will result.
Motion sensors on Night Knight detect sleeping movements. For example, abnormal movements may indicate that the child is experiencing discomfort. The app will compile movement detection data to assess the child’s average sleeping motion. Maintaining an ideal sleeping environment is also important. When the ambient room temperature exceeds 24C or dips below 19C, the Night Knight app will sound an alarm to notify the parents.
“One of the great benefits of Night Knight is that tired, overworked parents will be able to sleep better at night and with less worry, knowing that their child’s sleep movements and comfort are being monitored,” said Alinsasaguin.
“The merging of a child’s toy with a practical and useful health-related function holds promise for similar applications in the medical field, especially where the safety and welfare of children are concerned,” said ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh.
The former NAIT team’s project is one of nine finalists for the 2023 ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award. The winning project will be announced at the end of this month.
The Capstone Project of the Year Award was established by ASET in 2017 in response to overwhelming member interest in stories about Capstone Projects undertaken by teams of engineering technology students from NAIT, SAIT, Red Deer Polytechnic, and Lethbridge College as part of their end-of-program requirements.
ASET is the professional self-regulatory organization for engineering technologists and technicians in Alberta. ASET currently represents over 17,000 members, including full-time technology students, recent graduates and fully certified members in 21 disciplines and more than 120 occupations across a multitude of industries.
Michele Penz, Calico Communications for ASET