Asleep_WSC_2023_World_Sleep_Congress_Interview
Sleep & Tech

Asleep visits the Forefront of Global Sleep Technology

|by Asleep

    [Editor’s Note]

    Last month, Asleep attended the World Sleep Congress 2023 (WSC 2023) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As sleep experts from around the world gathered to share the latest research on sleep, Asleep's Sleep AI technology attracted particular attention and interest. It was also a valuable time to meet potential research collaboration partners to explore various aspects of sleep together.

    The interview below covers key aspects of Asleep's sleep technology as discussed by Ryan and Skylar from the AI team and Sohee from the business team, who shared business insights with partners in both technical and non-technical areas. We also had the opportunity to interview David, the head of Asleep, who planned and attended WSC 2023 with the team. Along with photos, we present the atmosphere of the World Sleep Congress 2023, the largest sleep conference in the world, as experienced by Asleep at the time.

    What was the main purpose of Asleep's participation in WSC 2023 this year?

    Asleep attended with the aim of raising awareness of how our Sleep AI technology can help improve sleep and to showcase our research to date. Furthermore, as the WSC serves as a gathering of sleep experts from around the world, our goal was to secure various global research collaboration partners to jointly advance our research on Sleep AI technology. It was also an opportunity to establish links with potential future business partners. To achieve this, we wanted to convey how sincere Asleep is about improving sleep problems and how reliable our technological capabilities are. The planning of Asleep's presentations and the design of the stand were all aimed at instilling confidence in our technology.

    We attended WSC, the world's largest sleep conference, for the first time this year. With so many conferences and events related to the sleep market and sleeptech, what made WSC 2023 such a big deal for you?

    David(Asleep CEO)The World Sleep Congress (WSC) is one of the three major sleep conferences in the world, along with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS). As a meeting where representative sleep societies from different countries come together to elect leadership, the WSC plays a role similar to that of the United Nations. Asleep's participation in WSC 2023 can be seen as the first step in forming a 'coalition' to advance the global understanding of sleep for all.

    Asleep aims to lead the digital transformation of sleep medicine, making sleep accessible to the general public through the accessibility and scalability of IT technology, beyond the confines of hospitals and onto mobile devices. To achieve this goal, building relationships and collaborations with sleep medicine experts is critical. The World Sleep Congress provides an excellent platform for networking in this regard. Indeed, Asleep's participation in this congress was a great opportunity to gain recognition among global sleep authorities and to initiate substantial collaborations to improve sleep worldwide.

    What did Asleep present at WSC 2023?

    Skylar(AI team)The focus of Asleep's current sleep AI technology research is the development of a model that analyses sleep by measuring sleep sounds, including breathing sounds. Fortunately, Asleep had the opportunity to attend WSC this year to showcase our achievements and technologies in sleep research. In the Industry Symposium session, Ray (Head of Asleep AI Division) and I presented research on sleep sounds and AI. In particular, I explained how we are developing a model that predicts sleep stages and respiratory instability using sleep sound data. I also discussed our efforts to ensure robust model training and provided insights into the accuracy of the Asleep model. In addition, I delivered a message encouraging collaboration on sleep research for foreigners and infants, emphasising the need for sufficient data in such studies.

    Ryan(AI team)Asleep's Sleep AI technology aims to develop a sleep analysis model that effectively detects breathing sounds, even when two or more people are sleeping. The sleep AI technology, which operates during individual sleep, has already demonstrated high accuracy. At WSC 2023, I presented in the poster session, focusing on how the accuracy of the sleep stage model improves when there is a sleeping partner. In the oral presentation, I introduced the Asleep snoring detection model, discussed how we conducted experiments and presented the performance results. Considering that the target audience was doctors and professors rather than AI engineers or researchers, I thought a lot about how to explain the content in a more understandable way. As a result, I decided to emphasise the research methods and protocols rather than provide an in-depth introduction to the AI model itself.

    📁 Asleep in WSC 2023 related contents

    1. Want to know more about what Asleep is exhibiting and presenting at WSC?
    👉🏻 The most noted Sleep AI Technology in World Sleep Congress 2023

    2. Want to know more about our latest signature research? 
    👉🏻 Official paper published in JMIR mHealth and uHealth |  Accuracy of 11 Wearable, Nearable, and Airable Consumer Sleep Trackers: A Prospective and Multicenter Validation Study
    👉🏻 Read the above study quickly and easily in 10 minutes | Apple, Google, Amazon, and Others: Comparison Study on the Accuracy of 11 Commercial Sleep Traking Devices
    (From left to right) Skylar, who was a speaker at the Asleep Industry Symposium, Dr Jung Ki-Young, Professor of Neurology at Seoul National University Hospital, Dr. Claudia Pinter, Doctor of Dental Orthodontics, and Lee Dong-heon, CEO of Asleep

    (From left to right) Skylar, who was a speaker at the Asleep Industry Symposium, Dr Jung Ki-Young, Professor of Neurology at Seoul National University Hospital, Dr. Claudia Pinter, Doctor of Dental Orthodontics, and Lee Dong-heon, CEO of Asleep

    Ray presents on Asleeps sleep AI technology during a keynote session.

    Ray presents on Asleep's sleep AI technology during a keynote session.

    In Poster session, Skylar presents the results of a simple mathematical modelling of circadian rhythms and Asleeps application to sleep research.

    In Poster session, Skylar presents the results of a simple mathematical modelling of circadian rhythms and Asleep's application to sleep research.

    During the poster session, Ryan (centre) presents the results of Asleep’s research on sleep AI technology when a sleeping partner is present.

    During the poster session, Ryan (centre) presents the results of Asleep’s research on sleep AI technology when a sleeping partner is present.

    What was the reaction on the ground to the above announcement?

    The Industry Symposium, especially during the presentation session, was a significant event led by Asleep and lasted almost two hours. The entire conference room was hired to introduce Asleep, explain who we are, our past research efforts and how collaboration could take place. Contrary to our expectations that there might be fewer people than at other sleep-related events, a surprisingly large number of people turned up. People were queuing before the start and the symposium room was packed with almost 400 people. It was fascinating and gratifying to see so many people showing an interest that we hadn't expected.

    After the presentations, many attendees expressed their satisfaction and some asked how to contact Asleep or expressed interest in collaborating. Some even visited the Asleep stand after listening to the presentations. With Clete Kushida, a prominent professor of sleep medicine at Stanford University, as one of the keynote speakers at the Asleep Symposium, and with the support of Stanley Liu, a professor at the Stanford Sleep Center, who actively promoted Asleep during the conference, we seem to have attracted a lot of attention.

    What did you hear from other organisations at WSC 2023 that impressed you?

    Due to the nature of the conference, many presentations were directly related to sleep medicine. For example, there were numerous discussions on the treatment of sleep disorders, the causes of symptoms such as snoring, teeth grinding and sleep apnea, and the medical field's focus on diagnosis and treatment. Although there were a few occasional presentations related to AI technology, these were quite rare. Therefore, the Asleep presentation seemed to attract more interest from the medical community due to its unique focus on AI technology in the context of sleep research.

    Sohee (right) introduces Asleep to a visitor at the Asleep booth.

    Sohee (right) introduces Asleep to a visitor at the Asleep booth.

    At WSC 2023, both our presentations and our booth design were designed to convey how serious we are about improving sleep and how reliable our technology is. What did visitors find most interesting about our stand? Did it convey the authenticity of Asleep well?

    Sohee(Biz Team) As the primary audience at the conference consisted of medical professionals, I was initially concerned that I would receive many medical questions at the stand. As a result, I spent a lot of time preparing by reviewing relevant terminology and concepts. Surprisingly, however, there were very few such questions. Instead, many people expressed great interest in the Asleep technology itself, asking questions such as "Is it really possible to measure sleep using only breath sounds? Many also mentioned that they would like to try Asleep's sleep AI technology on their own patients.

    Skylar(AI Team) The aspect of being able to analyse sleep simply by measuring breath sounds and the convenience of being able to use Asleep's sleep AI technology immediately by downloading a smartphone app intrigued many. The fact that it doesn't require a separate device to wear also caught people's attention. There was feedback that it could be beneficial for children who find wearing devices uncomfortable. Many visitors to the stand even downloaded the Sleep Routine app on the spot.

    Ryan(AI Team) The experience zone on the Asleep stand was well received. It offered visitors the opportunity to visually experience how breathing sounds differ at each stage of sleep through a histogram. Visitors could also wear headphones and listen to actual sleep sounds. Visitors to the stand often nodded in agreement or expressed fascination as they experienced the zone. The AI team and the BX team had put a lot of thought into how to visually present the changes in breathing sounds during different stages of sleep, and the positive reactions were indeed gratifying.

    💡 Want to know if it's really possible to analyse your sleep just by measuring your breathing?
    👉🏻 More Accurate than a Smart Watch with Sleep Sound

    A visitor to the Asleep stand listens to the gradually changing sounds of breathing in the Sleep Sounds Sample Experience Zone.

    A visitor to the Asleep stand listens to the gradually changing sounds of breathing in the Sleep Sounds Sample Experience Zone.

    What were the main questions asked by visitors to your stand?

    RyanㅣSkylar(AI Team) Many people were curious about the data we used to train the AI model. For example, there have been questions about the races or age groups of the data. We mainly used data from Korean adults, and we are currently establishing a memorandum of understanding with Stanford University to secure data from the United States. We plan to expand the diversity of races and age groups for ongoing research.

    In order to improve the performance of AI, the acquisition of rich data is crucial, as emphasised in the presentations. One of the main goals of attending the WSC 2023 conference was to connect with various collaborators for broad research. Fortunately, some of the visitors to our stand proposed collaborations, highlighting their focus on infant and adolescent sleep data. Others from countries as diverse as South America, France, Japan and Australia expressed interest in collaborating on research using data from their respective regions. Receiving such proposals reinforced the perception that our technological capabilities at Asleep are gaining confidence.

    What was the most memorable thing about attending WSC 2023?

    Skylar(AI Team) Among the visitors to the Asleep stand was someone involved in managing professional athletes. What stood out was her interest in using Asleep's sleep AI technology to monitor the sleep patterns of athletes to ensure they are sleeping well and waking up in optimal condition. While enquiries from medical professionals wanting to track sleep for patients are common, it was fascinating to see interest from someone focused on diverse subjects such as athletes, broadening the potential applications of our sleep analysis capabilities.

    Ryan(AI Team) During the conference, several presentations caught my attention, particularly those focusing on sleep research in young children, the satisfaction of using positive airway pressure therapy for sleep partners with sleep apnea, and studies on the quality of sleep when sleeping with a pet dog. Personally, I am involved in research on a sleep AI model that can detect breathing sounds even in the presence of a sleeping partner. The presentations I came across at the conference aligned with my current research and inspired me to consider broadening the scope of my research to include a wider range of topics in the future.

    Sohee(Biz Team) In fact, prior to attending the WSC, I anticipated that the lack of medical device approval for the Asleep product might limit immediate collaborations with medical device companies attending the conference. I expected discussions to focus on establishing long-term partnerships and joint R&D projects. However, after attending the conference, I realised that many medical device companies didn't see the lack of medical device approval as a significant hurdle. Asleep's provision of key metrics, such as the accuracy of measuring sleep efficiency and latency and the hypnogram, through APIs or SDKs to B2B companies seemed sufficient to showcase our technology. In particular, companies developing therapeutic devices expressed a strong interest in visually demonstrating improvements in sleep quality to patients. In this respect, Asleep's technological solutions seemed very attractive.