Soon many veterans who suffer from PTSD may be able to manage certain symptoms by wearing a smartwatch. Although this idea might sound far-fetched, the technology has already been developed. This is thanks to a college student who developed this help his own father- a former veteran suffering from PTSD related night terrors. Once this technology is fully developed, it may help many of those suffering from PTSD symptoms that interrupt their sleep be able to sleep fitfully through the night.
Night terrors are a common symptom for victims who have experienced trauma. This may result from of the need to be awake as a means to protect themselves from danger. Difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and distressing dreams and nightmares are sleep problems commonly associated with PTSD. Those suffering from PTSD related night terrors often wake frequently during the night trashing, screaming or shaking. The dominant emotions related to the traumatic incident may be recalled during sleep. This in turn causes the body to go into a state of hyper-arousal that can result in waking in a state of panic or may even trigger a full-blown panic attack.
College student Tyler Skluzacek and his team, also known as “The Cure,” created this ingenious smartwatch that tracks movement and heart rate during sleep. The group of friends entered a computer programming contest called HackDC, in which they took home the top prize of $1500. They spent about 36 hours writing code for this competition. They went on to create and name this smartwatch “myBivy.” They are now working with the Department of Veteran Affairs, and have started a campaign on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Their goal is to start clinical trials in early 2016.
The goal of this watch is to predict when a night terror will take place. It helps track the user’s symptoms for a few week until it recognizes what the exact symptoms of the onset of the panic attack. It then attempts to disrupt those symptoms, or take them out of that deep sleep without waking the user. Named “myBivy,” it is a shortened form of bivouac, which is the word used to describe a safe place to sleep for soldiers. This app has received an outpouring of support. It has been featured by top news sources and has garnered a large amount of media attention. The team responsible for this remarkable invention are a great example of the compassion and innovation that should be encouraged in every country, and for every veteran.
The team hopes to get it ready for distribution and on the wrist of every veteran suffering from these types of symptoms as soon as possible. This type of technology has the potential to impact millions of lives, and help improve the quality of care for veterans. The team has a saying between them that they will not sleep until the veterans can.
What technological innovations currently exist for those suffering from PTSD? Please leave your comments below.