Wearable Technology

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

“Wearable technology” is now commonly being used to track people’s activity, sleep-wake cycles, and even heart rate. Those of us who care for people with epilepsy always like to look for ways to use technology to help our patients.

How the Technology Works

The basic technology involves sensors that detect movement, which are found in simple pedometers.  Advancing this technology, these movement detectors have become smaller and compact.

Nearly every “smart phone” has the capability to detect movement. Also, independent devices are made that can be worn around the wrist or arm to increase the sensitivity. Any of these devices then can be linked to cellular and/or Wi-Fi technology. By doing this, safety and independence can be improved for people living with epilepsy.

How Wearable Technology Can Help

Imagine if a person wearing one of these devices has a generalized tonic-clonic seizure. The device can detect the motion of the person’s wrist. This movement can then trigger the device to signal a loved one or even call emergency medical services for help. Technology exists to even transmit the specific location of the patient, so help can be provided quickly. This can assist in reassuring family members that the person with epilepsy can be left alone, knowing that someone would be called if a major seizure occurred. Furthermore, these devices can keep a log of the number of seizures and the times that they occur, which can help their doctor make changes to their medications. The possibilities are limitless.

Is a Wearable Technology Device Right for You?

Neither I, nor epilepsy.com, endorses the use of any specific product. However, if you have any comments or questions regarding these types of technology, please feel free to discuss them with others using the Epilepsy Foundation’s social media channels or epilepsy.com’s forums and chat.

Authored by: Matthew Hoerth MD | Seizure Emergency Editor on 6/2015
Watches and Phones

Watch devices are wristwatches with accelerometers and in some cases GPS. These watch devices can detect repeated movements and alert someone by smartphone text, sound, or email. Some models can also detect the person’s location by GPS monitoring.

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The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

 
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