Keni Chen

Date of Award


First Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Second Advisor

Sarah Snyder


When we hear about sleeping disorders, we often think about problems with nighttime sleep. Narcolepsy is an exception—it is a chronic sleeping disorder that results in an abnormal sleep-wake cycle during the daytime. Narcolepsy was first recorded in 1880, and is today understood to be mainly caused by the loss of hypocretin neurons. Interestingly, it has different incidence rates across the world, due to the fact that the trigger to the disease is highly complex. Inspired by learning more about the disease, I focus in this thesis on a broader problem, one that is shared by both those with narcolepsy and many patients with other sleeping disorders: excessive daytime sleepiness. By incorporating heart rate variability and motion accelerometer, I worked with a team of other students to create a prototype for an ambulatory ear-mounted device that alerts users when dangerous sleeping episodes may occur.

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