This week we look at the smartwatch Empatica Embrace, which claims to be the first wearable that detects convulsive epileptic seizures. Smartwatches & wearables are touted to be the next big thing in healthcare, and this smartwatch takes it a notch higher.
The Embrace is a good-looking, fashionable accessory available in various colours & sizes, and made of Italian leather with a polished metal dial. It is a far cry from its predecessor, the more industrial Empatica E3 & E4. Empatica also claims that the Embrace is the thinnest smartwatch of its kind.
The smartwatch contains various sensors, and here is a brief of the technology:
- Gyroscope, to detect movement, orientation & rotation
- Accelerometer, to measure steps, speed & distance travelled
- Temperature sensor
- Electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor, the USP of this smartwatch, which measures electrical conductance of the skin
- Onboard microprocessor, to detect seizures in real time
- Bluetooth Low Energy and micro-USB connectivity
The EDA sensor continuously measures skin conductance, which varies depending on the amount of moisture on the skin. If the sympathetic nervous system is aroused, physiologically or psychologically, sweat gland activity also increases, resulting in increased skin moisture. Typical examples of increased electrodermal activity are exercise, stress or other emotional stimuli, and more specifically, as a precursor to convulsive seizures.
The Embrace E3, the first variant of Empatica to include an EDA sensor, is used today by many of the world’s most famous hospitals, universities, and companies to study human behaviour in real life.
Like any other smartwatch, the Embrace sends data to a mobile app that analyses & displays it in user-readable format. The Embrace comes with two apps, the Empatica Mate (a typical activity, sleep and stress tracker) and the Empatica Alert, an app designed specifically to detect epileptic seizures. This app is intended to be installed both in the watch-wearer’s smartphone and a caregiver or family member’s smartphone. Caregivers will thus be able to monitor the health of the patient (i.e. watch-wearer) remotely and will be alerted whenever any unusual activity is detected.
The Embrace is being crowd funded on Indiegogo and is expected to release in May 2015 at a price of $199 (approx. Rs. 12,000). You can fund the project and pre-book your device for $189 before December 25th, and Empatica will match your contribution by donating a device to the Epilepsy Foundation.
Apart from detecting epilepsy and tracking activity, the Embrace also tracks sleep cycles and stress patterns. Its technology is innovative (and patented), its various medical applications are exciting, and its price point is affordable. Look out for the Empatica Embrace next year!
Check out the video:
(All images from Empatica’s Indiegogo page)