Dr. Zilu Liang's Research Results were featured by Gizmodo

News Engineering 2019.12.10

Jr. Associate Professor Dr. Zilu Liang of the Kyoto University of Advanced Science was recently interviewed by Gizmodo, an influential online mass media publication covering science and technology.  The Gizmodo article, entitled “Does My Smartwatch's Sleep Tracker Actually Do Anything?” [1,2], featured Dr. Liang's research paper “Validity of Consumer Activity Wristbands and Wearable EEG for Measuring Overall Sleep Parameters and Sleep Structure in Free-Living Conditions” [3].
With the rising popularity of consumer sleep tracking technologies built into devices such as the Fitbit and Apple Watch, the accuracy of these devices is being independently studied.  While most of these studies have been conducted in controlled environments such as sleep laboratories, Dr. Liang and her colleagues conducted their studies in participants’ own homes.  This approach, though causing great difficulties for data collection, has the advantage of revealing device performance in real world environments.  The study by Dr. Liang and her colleagues revealed that recent off-the-shelf consumer devices are reasonably accurate for measuring total sleep time and sleep efficiency, but detecting sleep stages such as light, deep, and REM, remains a challenge for them.  Device accuracy can also be affected by age and sleep patterns; compared to people who sleep well, those who have sleep problems are more likely to encounter incorrect measurements.  Dr. Liang’s current research work focuses on extracting medical-grade data from consumer devices using machine learning techniques.
Dr. Liang adds that, “As a researcher from outside the US, being featured in this Gizmodo article is significant.  I’m glad that our distinct perspective of conducting validation studies ‘in the wild’ is being recognized.  I’m also very glad that our research results will reach more people and help them make better healthcare decisions.”
Dr. Liang's research paper was also cited in a survey article by the UK Parliament on “Sleep and Health” [4].

Maddie Stone.
“Does My Smartwatch's Sleep Tracker Actually Do Anything?”
Gizmodo (English version), 2019/10/09.
Economía Digital.
“Monitorizar el sueño con el móvil: ¿es fiable?”
(Spanish version), 2019/10/13.
Liang, Z. and Chapa Martell, M.A.
“Validity of Consumer Activity Wristbands and Wearable EEG for Measuring Overall Sleep Parameters and Sleep Structure in Free-Living Conditions.”
J Healthc Inform Res (2018) 2: 152.
Sarah Bunn and Lev Tankelevitch.
“Sleep and Health.”
POSTnote 0585, UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.