It’s estimated that more than 3,000 people in the U.S. with epilepsy die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) each year, making it the most common reason for death among epileptics. Shown at CES 2020, a new wearable monitoring device called NightWatch has the potential to change that.
NightWatch is a unique artificial intelligence wearable medical device that can detect 9 out of 10 types of seizures that could possibly cause SUPED during sleep. The device contains a photoplethysmographic heart rate module and a 3-dimensional accelerometer. When the system suspects a major epileptic seizure, a warning is transmitted wirelessly to the armband’s base station to alert the caregiver.
Epileptics wear this easy-to-use device on their upper arm with direct skin contact while they sleep. The arm is a better spot than the wrist because the upper arm moves less, creating fewer false alarms that the wrist would. I stress this point because my son wore the 1st generation Empatica and the warning went off all the time. After a few weeks, I couldn’t take the constant stress and he stopped wearing it.
NightWatch is optimized to detect all dangerous epileptic seizures, including tonic seizures that last for more than 30 seconds, clustered myoclonic seizures, hyper motor seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures. My son has tonic-clonic seizures that begin in the left arm, so he would wear this on that arm. The NightWatch detects up to 96% of the most dangerous seizures.
When a seizure occurs, the base sounds an alarm with lights and sounds. The sound will depend on what problem is being detected. The alarms can be forwarded to cell phones and call systems as well. I often cannot sleep because I am so worried about my son, but he is too old for me to make him sleep with me. This device could provide better sleep for caregivers since they know they will be alerted promptly.
The NightWatch can be connected to the internet so that you can obtain a readout of the wearer’s heart rate and motion data. The online portal provides insight into how the night went and helps you better understand why the NightWatch sent notifications, eliminating any uncertainty about what happened during the night. In addition, it provides you and your neurologist with a greater insight into the intensity and duration of your seizures.
Fully charged NightWatch works for a minimum of 10 hours and can work up to 16 hours. A warning sound is emitted if the battery is running low (4 beeps every 2 seconds).
NightWatch is currently available in European countries that accept CE certified medical devices, and is expected to receive clearance for sale in the U.S. later this year.
[Image credit: NightWatch]