A small group of students from Rice University have created a mobile monitoring device designed to monitor possible signs and indicators of epileptic episodes, which could prove very useful for caregivers and significant others of epileptic patients when they are apart from each other.
“Team Seize and Assist”, comprised of engineering students Tiffany Varughese, Ethan Leng, Mihir Mongia, Charles Park, and Andrew Wu, have dubbed the device “SMART Belt” which is short for Seizure Monitoring and Response Transducer. The device wraps around the patient’s chest and utilizes silver chloride electrodes that are similar to the ones used in lie detectors. These electrodes allow the device to detect electrical conductivity as well as monitor respirations, two physiological signs that relate to epileptic episodes. This data can then be transmitted via Bluetooth to a personal computer or smart phone, prompting an alert.
Currently, there is no available outpatient means of monitoring seizure activity, so the team hopes to perfect the SMART Belt as an inexpensive and comfortable mobile alternative to inpatient monitoring for the 2.3 million people in the United States living with epilepsy.
The team’s project was funded by Cyberonics Inc., a medical device company located in Houston; and advised by Rice professor of computer technology and electrical and computer engineering, Gary Woods.