(Image: RTI International)
Barbara Kroner is an epidemiologist at RTI International, a research institute in North Carolina. She often sleeps in the same bed as Ellie, her 14-year old daughter. Ellie has Aicardi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes frequent seizures. Over her young life, Ellie has had about 14,000 seizures. She’s one of 2 million people in the United States that must live with epilepsy and other seizure-related disorders.
Kroner worries that she won’t be around when Ellie has a seizure and needs her. So she and her colleagues developed a wearable sensor package that evaluates respiration, heart rate and body orientation. When the device assesses that a seizure has taken place, it sends a text message to a pre-designated caregiver. Kroner hopes to bring the device to the market in 3 years.