A wearable to help measure stress, epileptic seizures, activity, and sleep

November 24, 2014

Embrace (credit: Empatica)

MIT spinoff Empatica, which is developing a medical-quality wearable device to monitor epileptic seizures* and alert caregivers, has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to fund its development.

“When people that have epilepsy wear Embrace, they will get an alert when an unusual event happens, like a convulsive seizure,” the Indiegogo site says. “It will go via their smartphone to parents, roommates or caregivers, so somebody can check on them. Additionally, one of these caregivers can wear a ‘companion’ Embrace too.

“When the two Embraces are within range (e.g., in nearby rooms), the ‘companion’ Embrace worn by the caregivers will vibrate to alert them.”

Developed by a team led by Rosalind W. Picard, PhD, founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at MIT Media Lab, the Embrace wristband primarily monitors electrodermal activity (EDA) and movement.  The key objective is to prevent sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP),  the number one cause of death in epilepsy (Institute of Medicine, 2012). Picard tells the dramatic story here of the accidental discovery of pre-seizure EDA surges.

Embrace is also  a real-time stress indicator. “If you push yourself too much, the Embrace will gently remind you with a vibration that you need some time to recover,” the Indiegogo site says.

Embrace features (credit: Empatica)

At launch, Embrace will have two apps available: an event detector for people suffering with Epilepsy and an alert for when your electrodermal response climbs to a level you specify (providing personal stress feedback).  Embrace also comes with a diary for understanding better your daily life. Empatica plans to develop an API for additional apps.

The funding campaign runs until December 24 with a goal of raising $100,000, but has already raised more than $140,000. Backers who pledge $169 will receive a discounted Embrace device.

* One of every 26 people in the USA will suffer from epilepsy at some point in their lifetime (Institute of Medicine, 2012). Today, approximately 65 million people suffer from epilepsy worldwide.

Empatica | Embrace – A gorgeous watch designed to save lives!