Jan 08

Breakthrough: Singularity Experience Data compared with EEG data

Yesterday I got my Zeo wireless headband sleep tracker headband (99$ from Amazon.com). Using a wrist mounted Singularity Experience 1.1 app for iPhone and running Zeo Sleep Manager on my iPod, I was able to collect and compare data from 2 apps.
The results are nothing short of spectacular.

Download full report here: http://luciddreamingapp.com/appdata/Singularity%20Experience-Zeo%20Sleep%20Manager.pdf

Zeo Sleep Manager sleep data

Zeo’s mobile suite of apps is still in infancy. It was released in November 2011 and uses a wireless Bluetooth enabled headband to collect data about your sleep using Dry EEG (Electro ElectroencephaloGraph) sensor. This produces the most accurate sleep monitoring available in a consumer device for less than 100$.

I was glad that the guys at Zeo fixed some of the horrible bugs that the early adopters faced, and my headband collected data without problem. In the morning, I was greeted with this sleep data analysis graph. It’s really nice for a consumer facing app, but as a sleep researcher I’d like to have more detail about my sleep.

To acclimate myself to the headband, I wore it for about 4 hours prior to sleep, during which time I had to adjust tightness over 8 times until I felt comfortable enough to sleep in it. Over the course of the night I found the headband slipping to the top of the forehead on 3 different occasions. The headband remained on my forehead overnight.

At the beginning of the night I experienced a period of insomnia, lasting a little bit over 50 minutes. Zeo has correctly identified this by insisting that I was awake. I was surprised to see that the app has subtracted that sleep from my sleep duration. My ZQ, the Zeo’s metric of sleep quality was at 57%, which is expected for an insomnia night.

Zeo Sleep Manager tracks sleep using dry EEG sensor positioned in a headband in the middle of your forehead.

Singularity Experience: The Lucid Dreaming App data

Singularity experience is also in it’s infancy, the app has been released in December 2011 and also faced some horrible early adopter bugs. The January 2011 release of version 1.1 has made the app stable and it keeps collecting data every night without fail.

As a sleep researcher, I put a lot of effort into creating a comprehensive sleep data analysis tool. Human eye seeks patterns, and 3 different views of data provide plenty of opportunity to seek and identify sleep patterns.

The app has correctly identified my insomnia as wake and has stated that my sleep onset was delayed by 52 minutes. My overall sleep quality was calculated to be 50% restful sleep. Using the app I reported 4 long dreams, corresponding to 2nd, 3rd, 4th and  5th sleep cycles with awakening after REM in the 5th sleep cycle.

Singularity experience is a comprehensive sleep tracker that collects data by monitoring your movements in bed (either from a mattress or wrist)

Sleep data comparison.

The big questions that I was trying to answer were:

  • Does Singularity Experience detect REM?
  • How do the sleep metrics compare?
  • Were lucid dreaming reminders played in REM sleep?

To do so, I created a transparent image of the Zeo’s sleep graph and plotted it over the Singularity Experience’s sleep data. Luckily, both use 5 minute resolution for their sleep graphs, so the X markers of singularity experience aligned perfectly with the Zeo’s vertical bars.

I started Zeo a couple minutes before Singularity Experience to ensure that the headband collects data correctly. This is reflected by 1 segment left shift of the Zeo’s graph compared to Singularity experience.

Sleep Onset.

The black marker of Singularity Experience aligned very well with the Zeo’s metric of me being awake due to insomnia. They align to within 5 minute window, which is really promising.

Sleep Quality.

The sleep quality of both apps was very close: 50% for singularity experience and 57% for Zeo.

Sleep Depth.

The first thing that I noticed that the sleep depth (yellow markers) aligned very closely with the Zeo’s metric of sleep depth. All 4 sleep depth episodes were correctly identified by Singularity Experience.

REM Durations.

I was disappointed to discover that the Singularity Experience v1.1 still uses v1.0 graph, so the REM detection windows presented on the graph (elevated blue X markers) do not align with the Zeo’s green bars at all.  Still, using the Dream awakening markers that I placed upon awakening aligned very closely with the Zeo’s end of REM episode. The alignment was to within 5 minutes for 2/4 dreams and middle for 2/4 dreams. Zeo headband was displaced from my head during dream awakenings #2 and 3, resulting in white gaps in data, as I repositioned the headband back to the middle of the forehead.

My dream journal analysis compared favorably with Zeo’s REM duration estimation. I reported 4 very long dreams, where I forgot earlier segments. The dream duration that I estimated from dream journal were : ? minutes, 10 minutes, 12 minutes, 20 minutes.

Zeo Sleep manaager sleep graph superimposed upon Singularity experience sleep graph. The two graphs show remarkable agreement on various metrics!

Reminder analysis

The purpose of the lucid dreaming app for iPhone is to deliver reminders in the middle of REM to induce lucid dreams. This is done by either having the reminder integrate into the content of the dream or have the reminder awaken the user to be able to re-enter the dream consciously.

I was pleasantly surprised to notice that all reminders that the app played or scheduled aligned with REM that Zeo has detected. 3 out of 5 reminders were played at the very start of REM. This is really good, because using a custom reminder delay, the reminder can be pushed closer to the middle of REM. This also means that Singularity Experience correctly predicts the REM onset.

By enabling/disabling reminders, you can control during which REM episode the app will be playing the reminder. Your task is then to find the reminder that your body responds to. To do so, you can combine vibration, light and audio cues.

With wristband mode, Singularity experience played 4 reminders at the start of REM. Using custom delay, you can adjust the reminder timing to be played closer to dream awakening

Here’s the next day’s comparison:

This night had some pretty bad recall, and I woke up really tired. I had a lucid dream though, where I spontaneously became lucid. I need to think about what these results mean