Seizure-detecting wristwatch moves forward: Embrace

As Epilepsy Awareness month closes out and we embark upon the holiday season, we’re pleased to see an innovation initiated here at Boston Children’s Hospital move toward commercial development. This wearable device for patients with epilepsy, called Embrace, is like a “smoke alarm” for unwitnessed seizures that may potentially prevent tragic cases of sudden, unexpected death from epilepsy (SUDEP) in the future.

The Bluetooth-enabled, sensor-loaded wristband, using technology developed and tested in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, can detect the onset of a convulsive seizure based on the wearer’s movements and autonomic nervous system activity. Parents, caregivers or even roommates can wear a “companion” Embrace that vibrates an alert, so they can quickly intervene.

Read more about research on the device at Boston Children’s Epilepsy Center and its potential to not just prevent SUDEP, but also help understand children’s overall seizure patterns so to better time epilepsy medications. The device developer, Empatica, has started a crowdfunding campaign to develop an improved prototype and set up a website where people can make early purchases to help fund development and FDA submission of the promised device.