A wristwatch-style device may soon help allay a major fear among people with epilepsy: That a seizure could occur without the knowledge of someone who could help. â€œWe are working on a device called the SmartWatch that will detect myoclonic and grand mal seizures within 4-5 seconds after onset and alert caregivers within 7-10 seconds after onset,â€ said Stanford University pediatric neurology professor Donald Olson, M.D.
SmartWatch detects â€œcertain kinds of abnormal movement, then signals a smart phone, cell phone, e-mail, laptop or other device,â€ Olson explained. â€œIt can notify a caregiver within seconds that a seizure has occurred.â€
The device should allow caregivers and family members both rest and respite, knowing that even in bed at night, the SmartWatch will alert them to seizure activity, he said.
The partners received grant support from the Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Therapy Project which helped them complete a clinical trial; add Bluetooth, a wireless technology for exchanging information over short distances; and make improvements to software that interprets motion signals.
During the trial, â€œSmartWatch missed only one out of eight convulsive seizures,â€ among patients admitted to the Stanford Medical Center for seizure monitoring, Olson said. A small malfunction, since fixed, caused the single miss.