Medical student invents 'epilepsy alarm' for grandmother

Updated 2017-08-15 14:31:08
Yin Xu demonstrates the epilepsy alarm. (Photo/

Yin Xu demonstrates the "epilepsy alarm." (Photo/

Yin Xu, a 22-year-old man from Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, invented an "epilepsy alarm" for his grandmother before leaving home for an internship.

Yin majors in clinical medicine at Kangda College of Nanjing Medical University. According to, for as long as he could remember, his grandmother had suffered from epilepsy, and her seizures have happened on average once a month, often around midnight.

Epilepsy seizures can occur with convulsions, loss of consciousness, urine and feces incontinence, even cardiac arrests or deaths.

Therefore, prompt detection of epilepsy seizure is of crucial importance.

Yin spent an entire night sleepless when his grandma's epilepsy hit during this past Spring Festival. He became worried that a seizure could come when he's not with his grandma. After not finding a monitoring device for the disease on the Internet, Yin decided to make one himself.

Yin started by tackling the symptom of "gritting teeth," developing a brace with elastic silicon materials, which reduce the damage to teeth and the risk of tongue biting.

"If an epilepsy seizure occurs, gritting teeth will form a closed circuit, and the device will raise an alarm reminding families to act in time," said Yin.

From April to June, Yin, along with his team, made full use of his spare time to complete the "epilepsy alarm." With a cost of less than 500 yuan, the device works quite well. In order to avoid mistaking occasional gritting as seizures, the team set the alarm to sound after detecting eight seconds of gritting.

Further improvements have been made to develop a mobile app connecting the device via Bluetooth. The app can record and store medical information for patients, such as seizure time and duration, so as to provide doctors with a medical history. Meanwhile, family members can read treatment guidance on the app.

The device has already been granted a national patent, yet it has yet to be sent to Yin's grandmother.

"It should have a nicer look, and the circuit can be more optimized," said Yin as he hopes to receive some advice from experts.

Some manufacturers have expressed the intention to put the "epilepsy alarm" into pilot production, and Yin hopes that more epileptics like his grandmother can use the device.

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