Microsoft Uses Kinect to Create Epilepsy Night Seizure Monitor

The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor was used to track a child's movement during night

Microsoft's Kinect for Windows v2 sensor has again been used for a very innovative technology that can act as a night seizure monitor and can observe the movements of a child suffering from the Dravet syndrome at night.

The so-called “Night Seizure Monitor” research, which was started by EIC BBK-Dravet Syndrome Foundation, a Spanish nonprofit organization dedicated to the treatment and cure of the Dravet syndrome and related disorders, is supposed to monitor a child's movements during sleep and alert whenever they are having a seizure.

This in turn helps, Microsoft says, to ensure the proper medication right away when the seizure occurs, but also to enhance the family's quality of life because parents can sleep at night without being afraid that their kids could have a seizure.

“When the Kinect sensor detects movements that follow a seizure pattern, an alarm warns parents that their child might be having a seizure,” Ana Isabel Zorrilla, project manager at the nonprofit EIC BBK-Dravet Syndrome Foundation, said today.

“This solution provides dual benefits: when a seizure is detected, the monitor system ensures that the child gets medication right away to reduce the length and intensity of the episode. And when no seizures occur, the monitor enhances family’s quality of life, because parents are able to enjoy a restful sleep.”

Microsoft says that although the Kinect sensor alone can really come in handy in this case, it can also contribute to an even more advanced product with the help of some other technologies. For example, a color camera, an infrared detector and microphones could help the Kinect sensor detect physical movement and acoustical challenge, which could obviously increase accuracy whenever the seizures occur.

The Night Seizure Monitor is still in development stage, but researchers explain that a fully functional prototype should be ready by the end of 2014. The project could then get the green light for production and thus become available for those suffering from the Dravet syndrome across the world.

“The developers are eagerly awaiting the general availability of the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and SDK, which promise enhanced discrimination of facial expressions. The developers believe the enhanced face tracking capability will help the monitor detect those seizures that do not present limb shaking but rather are manifested by movements of the eyes and mouth,” Microsoft explained in a lengthy blog post describing the purpose of the new system and the way it works.

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