Sleep Sound


Welcome to the home of the SleepSound University of Idaho Design team.  This project is made possible by Idaho National Laboratories and Dale Wahlquist of INL, as well as the teaching staff at University of Idaho.

Team Picture

Our team is working towards creating an affordable, easy to use SIDS Monitor for public use and consumption. The long term goal is to create a product that any parent can easily purchase at a major retail chain, such as Walmart, and quickly setup and use to protect thier children.

This project is being funded by Idaho National Laboratories, and is a joint project of the University of Idaho's Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, and Biosystems Engineering Departments.

This website is presently a work in progress designed primarily to:

  • Share information between the SleepSound team
  • Keep INL updated with our progress

Please note that some web browsers are seemingly unfavorable to this website, and it works best with Internet Explorer.

 Sleep Sound in the news!

Sleep Sound presentation at business class
 Lewiston Tribune
Photo Caption: Jeff Otto, 22, a University of Idaho student, shows
his prototype of a baby monitor designed to help parents prevent
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to potential partners in the business
college. A new program at the UI pairs inventors with business
students in an effort to help students learn to cash in on their
intellectual property.
Photo Credit: Tribune/Steve Hanks

Bright ideas come to life in UI class
New VIEW program pairs young inventors with business students
Joel Mills

MOSCOW -- University of Idaho student Jeff Otto has an idea -- a
baby breathing monitor to help parents prevent Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome.  So does Korey Johnson -- a system of graphical computer passwords
that would be harder to crack than the usual numbers and letters. And
Brett Josephson has devised a waterproof wood-plastic composite
cardboard that could protect products, such as tobacco or ammunition,
from getting wet.

All are participating in a new UI class that could help them --
and the university -- cash in on their intellectual property. Called
Vandal Innovation and Enterprise Works, or VIEW, the program is
pairing the young inventors with business students who might help
their dreams become lucrative realities.

"We want to get it out there, on the shelves of Wal-Mart," said
electrical engineering student Otto, 22, of his high hopes for the
monitor he's developed with five fellow students. Their prototype
uses an elastic band woven with low-voltage wires, that wraps around
a baby's torso to detect the rise and fall of the baby's chest during
normal breathing.

He said a final version would be incorporated into infant
sleepwear, and be an affordable alternative to expensive heart
monitors used on babies considered at a high risk for SIDS. Other
companies are making similar devices, but Otto believes the novelty
in his design is the technical method used to detect breathing.
And that novelty is the key to making money from intellectual
property, said Gene Merrell, UI assistant vice president for research
and interim director of the Idaho Research Foundation. If the U.S.
Patent Office doesn't find novelty in an invention, a patent is not

Otto has applied for a provisional patent for his monitor, which
could net him and his partners 40 percent of the profits if the
device is commercialized, Merrell said.
VIEW director and finance professor Tom Liesz said some
universities have been cashing in on their intellectual property to
the tune of millions of dollars.

"It's sad to see the stuff that gets created here on campus that
has the potential to be marketed just sit here," Liesz said. "We
haven't been very successful at getting it (marketing) done."
While an invention's creators always get a slice of any revenue
generated by marketing their product or service, the university also
gets paid because the idea was created with its support, Liesz said.
"They're using state and federally supported infrastructure, so some
of the profits come back to the university," he said.
Idaho Research Foundation assistant director Alison Nowakowski
said after the inventors get their 40 percent, the foundation gets 40
percent and 20 percent goes back to the college where the invention
was created.

Licensing income for fiscal year 2005 was nearly $500,000, and
Merrell said he would like to see that quadruple over the next five
years. VIEW could help the university achieve that goal.
Liesz' spring semester VIEW class has 23 students, but if the
program takes off it could expand to at least 50, he said.
In addition to the student-generated projects, this week Merrell
offered several other ideas generated by UI professors for the VIEW
class to use. They include a cheap, portable method of cleaning up
chlorine-based industrial waste, a fast and accurate method to
analyze biofuel blends, and nanotechnology-based hydrogen storage

But the student projects took center stage at an exposition at the
UI business college this week, including Boise native Korey Johnson's
graphical passwords. Called Composite Scene Authentication, the
technology promises to be cheaper, easier to implement and more
reliable than biometric sensors. Such sensors identify a person based
on a fingerprint or retina scan, said Johnson, a graduate student in
human factors psychology.  But they can get dirty and are easily fooled, he said.
Like the infant breathing monitor, others have commercialized
graphical passwords, Johnson said. But those systems use faces, and a
determined hacker can use powerful computer programs to guess what
faces a person might pick based on their race or personality.
His system is novel in that it uses any type of picture to replace
letters and numbers. "There's an obvious difference there." And the
user arranges the pictures in a specific order on a specific
background, making the scene even harder to crack.
Johnson, 24, said such access codes could have the security of an
impossible-to-memorize password that is dozens of characters long.
And that could make the technology valuable to the government,
companies, individuals -- just about anyone, he said. "That's one of
the advantages to it."

Composite Scene Authentication has also received a provisional
patent with the help of Johnson's major professor Steffen Werner and
former UI student and computer expert Sergio Caltagirone, who
originally created the idea.
Forestry student Josephson's team already has a prototype of his
waterproof cardboard made. Now he needs a finance expert to help him
bring it to market. And with the VIEW program now in full swing, he
should be able to find a match.
Mills may be contacted at or at (208) 883-0564.



TeamPic1.jpg11181492/10/07 1:48 AMJeff






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Last Modified 2/10/07 2:04 PM