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Project Duration 

10 weeks

Project Type

Solo project

A medical assistant for
people living with epilepsy
Epilepsy is a chronic, highly stigmatized condition in which a person experiences random episodes of seizures.
The cause of epilepsy is currently unknown.

What is epilepsy?

It's much more common than you think

1/3

There are more people with epilepsy than autism spectrum, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy  – combined
of people with epilepsy suffer from anxiety/depression

There are two ways epilepsy affects the brain

Focal Seizures

Only affects a specific part of the brain

Generalized Seizures

Affects the entire brain

And there are two types of seizures 

Motor Seizures

Uncontrolled movements, sounds, or body functions. Commonly called Tonic-Clonic Seizures. 

Non-Motor Seizures

Staring spells, brief twitches of the eye or other body parts. Commonly called Absence Seizures. 

Aura focuses on generalized tonic-clonic (motor) seizures 

 
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Research

Stigma and isolation creates large internet communities of people living with epilepsy

Because of this phenomenon, I was able to do my research online. I collected hours of observations from: 
• Facebook support groups
• a popular epilepsy subreddit
• various YouTube channels ranging from non-profits to TED talks, to individual families recording their lives.
• the Epilepsy Foundation website
These accounts are raw, sometimes highly private, and contained very valuable insights into the lives of thousands of people.
Photos from the Epilepsy and Seizure Support Group on Facebook

How did I look at this data? 

Looking at personal accounts showed me how individuals deal with their epilepsy on a day to day basis. I looked for annoyances, fears, joys, and excitements in their journeys 
I also looked at larger themes on these pages. What is trending? What is a popular question, rant, or sentiment? What do all these different social media pages have in common?

I used observational clustering to synthesize my findings

This helped me create a persona, Dana, who is affected by a variety of common problems that people living with epilepsy face.

Dana was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 32

New to the condition, Dana feels vulnerable, helpless and isolated. She has random, tonic clonic seizures on an almost daily basis, and is looking for a product to help her find steady ground on this new journey.
"Epilepsy was a fundamental change in my life, and it wasn't something from which I could just carry on." 

Dana's Emotional Stress Journey

She is diagnosed with epilepsy after a second episode
Epilepsy becomes a part of her identity, which takes her a long time to accept.
Dana has a seizure, but doctors are unsure if it is epilepsy or not. 
She has trouble remembering to fill out her seizure diary in order to find the right medication
She finally finds a medication that works for her
She feels isolated as her friends start to cancel plans with her

I picked a point of high stress (medication management) 
and analyzed Dana's physical journey through it

Full journey map

I identified these three as major problems that needed solutions

Remembering to
take medication​
Embarrassing + isolating to wear medical alert bracelet
Remembering/ feeling motivated to fill
out seizure diary​

Competitive analysis in the problem space

Pen and Paper

Pros

+ Accessible

Cons

- Difficult to organize

-  Hard to bring everywhere

- Can't get analytics

- No medication reminders

Lauren's Hope
Medical Jewelry

Pros

+ Aesthetically pleasing

+ Subtle design

Cons

- Too subtle for emergencies

- No emergency services

Bleuberi Seizure Diary

Pros

+ In-depth seizure and mood analytics

+ Medication reminders

+ Seizure timer and emergency services

Cons

- Takes too much time
to manually input

- Hard to navigate

- No automation with emergency services 

My Seizure Diary

Pros

+ In-depth seizure analytics

+ Can send data to Dr.

+ Medication reminders

Cons

- No emergency services

- Takes too much time to manually input 

Empatica 2 Wearable

Pros

+ Automated emergency services

+ In-depth seizure and health analytics

+ Automated recording of seizure data

+ Medication reminders

Cons

- No emotional support

- No first-aid help to bystanders

- No interface on wearable

Dana wants a product that gives her...

Control

Dana wants easy-to-read analytics about her seizures that help her make educated decisions with her doctors

Low Visibility

Dana doesn't want to draw even more attention to her already stigmatized condition

Support​

Dana needs support to assist her through emotional rough patches, and provide protection during episodes
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Ideation
 

Concept #1: Medication management made easy

Does it satisfy what Dana is looking for?

Does it solve the identified problems?

Concept #2: Predictive Seizure Hat with EEG

Does it satisfy what Dana is looking for?

Does it solve the identified problems?

Concept #3: Seizure Detection/Support System Ring

Does it solve the identified problems?

Does it satisfy what Dana is looking for?

Concept #4: Seizure Detection Watch

Does it solve the identified problems?

Does it satisfy what Dana is looking for?

Form Ideation

App wireframing

 
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How it Works

There when you need it, hidden when you don't

When Aura detects a seizure, it turns from looking like a smartwatch to a highly visible medical alert bracelet. 

First aid guidance to bystanders

There are lots of myths about seizures. A common one is that the person having a seizure will swallow their tongue. Another is that
you should try to restrain the person having an episode. Both are incorrect and can lead to causing more harm. 
Aura provides first aid audio on a loop so that if an incident happens in public, bystanders can safely help the person.

Listen to first-aid audio from the wearable

Additional emergency services

At the beginning of each seizure, a message to loved ones is sent and a timer begins. If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, paramedics are alerted automatically.
 
Additionally, an in-depth medical ID is available for viewing.  

Dialogue based AI chatbot for insights and wellbeing

After a seizure is automatically recorded from the wearable, Aura follows up with the user for extra insights through a dialogue-based AI chatbot.
 
Since a third of people with epilepsy suffer from anxiety and depression due to the isolating nature of the condition, this chatbot specializes in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), a therapy known to ease anxiety and depression.

Collected insights from the diary and wearable

Easy medication management 

Time

Medication Reminder

Medical Alert

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