Innovation That Matters

Epilepsy vest | Photo source The Big Bang on Flickr

Teenage engineers invent a vest that can predict epileptic seizures

Sport & Fitness

Two young innovators jointly win UK Young Engineer award for their innovative vest that gives epileptic sufferers up to eight minutes warning before suffering a seizure.

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In what could be a life changing invention for epileptic sufferers, a vest has been designed that will give its wearer warning of an upcoming seizure, giving them ample time to prepare for it. Most impressive of all is that it was designed by two teenagers, Sankha Kahagala-Gamage and David Bernstein, who shared the UK Young Engineer award at the Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition.

The students from Loughborough Grammar in Leicestershire were inspired after witnessing someone suffer a fit. The MediVest monitors both heart rate and body temperature to detect an impending attack and alerts the user via their smartphone. It can also send a warning to a third party, such as a carer, family member or medical practitioner telling them help is needed.

The pair beat 500 candidates to win the award at the annual Big Bang Fair at Birmingham’s NEC. Their prototype was funded by friends, family and their school’s Parent Teacher Association, but they’ll soon be looking for funding to further develop their brainchild.

Kahagala-Gamage responded: “It just goes to show if you truly believe in your invention and you put enough work in, you will succeed. I hope the MediVest will inspire the next set of engineers in 2018.”

There are other innovations that detect upcoming seizures, such as an EPItech earpiece and the Embrace watch which also give users warning of an attack, but this is the first that’s combined with clothing and entirely concealed. What other illnesses could be helped combined with day to day cloth wear?



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