Cambridge, MA— On January 26th, MIT spinoff Empatica received FDA clearance for its epilepsy-tracking Embrace Watch — making it the first smartwatch approved in neurology in the US. The device uses multiple sensors including a gyroscope, accelerometer, thermometer and electrodermal activity tracker (EDA) to monitor the signs of a seizure. The watch connects to a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth and leverages an AI-powered app to track virtually imperceptible symptoms, flag events, and ultimately alert both patients and caregivers.

In the trial that drove the FDA approval, the wearable’s algorithm detected 100% of the 135 enrolled patients’ seizures. In the future, the company hopes developments in machine learning will allow the platform to do more than track and alert seizures when they occur, but rather predict when one may be approaching.

Why This Matters

This story stands at the convergence of our 2017 Digital Trend More Than Measure and our recently released 2018 Trend Artificial Intelligence + Real Life Patients:

What’s wrong? In 2018, only the bots can tell you. Increasingly, the first interaction people will have with the healthcare system will be an AI diagnostic that routes them to just the right care.

New therapies like Embrace Watch are about far more than the hardware and sensors they’re made of — their AI-fueled backend is transforming the way HCPs and patients acquire relevant data. This year, look for more tools and tech that will bring AI to the masses and shape the future of living with chronic illnesses.

About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.