Cambridge startup Empatica has launched Embrace 2. The latest generation wearable for epilepsy management comes with longer battery life, a more intuitive watch face, improved connection management and the stamp of approval from the FDA.
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At first glance Embrace 2 resembles a slightly odd fitness tracker. But if you were to look under the hood you’d find some technology which sets it well apart from the crowd. This includes electrodermal activity, temperature, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors.
Empatica’s core technology traces to MIT Medial Lab research. Just over a decade ago, Prof. Picard’s team developed a wearable that measured changes on the surface of the skin. Rather unexpectedly, the team learned they had also built an accurate method for seizure detection. The company launched the first generation band via Indiegogo, and is now back with Empatica 2.
Cleared by the FDA in the United States and certified as a medical device in Europe, the smartband uses advanced machine learning to detect unusual patterns that may be associated with tonic-clonic seizures. The gizmo looks out for movements that are frequent and repetitive in nature and last more than 20 seconds. This information is combined with electrodermal activity (EDA) data which is generated by the sweat glands and tends to increase with emotional stimulation.
When people that have epilepsy wear Embrace, they will get an alert when a seizure happens. It will go via their smartphone to parents, roommates or caregivers, so somebody can check on them. Empatica says Embrace is not meant to substitute your current seizure monitoring practices, but rather to serve as a supplement in expediting first-response time.
You can also use the device for general activity monitoring. It provides rest and physical activity analysis to better understand your lifestyle and share with your doctor.
Embrace 2 has a smart, minimalist design. It comes with an anodized aluminum case that can be paired with a selection of bands. The whole thing weights only 13 grams and is water-resistant for up to 1m/3ft.
The face of the device has been tweaked and now features 3 dots at the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions in addition to the heart at 3 o’clock. This allows you to read the time more easily. And with fast charging and a 48+ hour battery life, Embrace will not be sitting on your charger for long.
There is a big market for this type of wearable. It is a little known fact that 1 out of every 26 people in the US suffer from epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Approximately 65 million people suffer from the condition worldwide.
You can order Embrace 2 from the company’s website for around $250. US customers will need a valid prescription from a healthcare provider in order to purchase the device.
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