Real-time seizure alerts captured by SmartWatch equipped with accelerometer and Bluetooth technology

mHealth Research Daily with Tim Bredrup

Caregivers of epileptic patients are often concerned about unwitnessed seizures that can cause injury and sometimes even death. In an effort to address this concern, neurologists at Stanford University performed a study to determine if a wrist-worn accelerometer could accurately detect the classic epilepsy seizure known as a tonic-clonic, or grand mal seizure. Accelerometers measures changes in velocity or speed.

Individuals suffering from epilepsy who were admitted for continuous video/EEG monitoring also wore a wristwatch-size device that was programmed to detect rhythmic movements, such as those that occur during tonic-clonic seizures. When seizure movement was detected by the device, it sent a signal using Bluetooth technology to a computer that registered the exact time and duration of the event. Recorded detections from the wrist device were then compared with the routinely recorded video/EEG data in order to determine if they both detected the same information.

Out of forty patients who were studied, six had a total of eight tonic-clonic seizures. Of those eight seizures, seven were detected by the SmartWatch. Non-seizure movements were also detected 204 times, with the opportunity for the transmission to be cancelled by the patient or caregiver. A mere one false detection occurred during sleep.

In principle, this device should allow caregivers of people with tonic-clonic seizures to be alerted when a seizure occurs in their absence. This is particularly useful for caregivers of elderly people and children who have seizures. Such technology is promising for improving the quality of life amongst the epileptic community. Other solutions aimed at helping epilepsy patients live a more normal life include systems being developed by Wave Technology Group in Chicago and at the Holst Center in Europe.

Authors: Lockman J, Fisher RS, Olson DM

Institution: Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA

Original Abstract: Pubmed



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11 Responses to Real-time seizure alerts captured by SmartWatch equipped with accelerometer and Bluetooth technology

  1. Tom Lewis January 17, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    I think this is so cool!! If this kind of technology could be integrated into a modern watch then the possibilities to track and measure things like seizures, physical activity levels or location will make a massive difference to modern medicine.

    It makes me dream of a day when the iWatch (highly contentious rumour that Apple is poised to enter the digital watch market) becomes available as that would be the perfect platform for mHealth developers to use.

    Part of the overall problem as I see it is that there is too much fragmentation in the mHealth wearable device market. There are loads of great ideas (this, the Jawbone UP, the bluetooth heart monitor and more) but they are all built on separate devices. The person who comes along and designs a standard platform that all these mHealth devices/ideas are compatible with, will be hugely successful! Maybe one day!

    • Ted Ladd January 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

      @Tom: Your wish is our command. We’ve built a platform that runs Android natively so that developers can write and distribute “micro apps” for a wearable device using tools and code they already have.
      Yes, we’ve changed _a few_ of the Android APIs to better accommodate wearable hardware, but it’s only about 1% of the code. And our business model provides the hardware to ANY! brand that wants to bring wearable technology to market.
      Like you, we look forward to the integration of wearables (ours and everyone else’s) into modern medicine.
      -Ted Ladd
      WIMM Labs

      • Marc-Emile January 24, 2012 at 10:17 pm #


        Your platform looks very interesting. I would definitely be interested in an interview with the iMA team!

      • Chele Stirpe December 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

        My daughter is in her first year of college. Her seizures were very controlled by meds until 2 weeks ago. We all have iPhones and just purchased a Jawbone UP for other reasons. Now I’m wondering if the UP 24 is or could be adapted to monitor my her seizures and somehow alert us in case it happens when she is alone.

  2. Felasfa Wodajo, MD January 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    That sounds fascinating. We would like to learn more about your company and product. Would it be ok if one of our writers interviewed you ? You can use the contact form at the top and we will follow up. Thank you

  3. Dan Mooradian March 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Elegant application of technology that will improve the quality of life and bring peace of mind to many. Kudos to the researchers at Stanford working on ths problem and to companies like WIMM Labs for developing the platforms that will make it a reality!

  4. Corinna March 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Are the devices available for purchase yet? If so, where can we get one?


  5. Stephanie March 30, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    Just wondering if they’re available for sale anywhere? Sounds very promising!

  6. Robert February 25, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    This would be a dream come true to help monitor my 8 year old daughter who just got diagnosis with epilepsy.

  7. Ezequiel November 20, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Does it work with iphone?

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