Predicting an epileptic seizure is now possible with T-Jay glove
Like many of us, Rajlakshmi Borthakur, a mother, an innovator and an entrepreneur had absolutely no idea what epilepsy actually is, until her own son diagnosed with epilepsy. She was devastated as a mother. The realization that her son Tejas might not be normal, that he might be dependent on someone else to fulfill his basic needs for the rest of the life pained her immensely.
However, giving up was never an option for her. Determined enough to make all the possible efforts to make the world a better place for her son, Rajlakshmi realized the necessity of anticipating an epileptic attack – the inception point of the idea of creating T-jay, a smart glove that can read brain signals to predict the occurrence of an attack.
Tejas has epilepsy since two days of his birth. It stemmed from an injury to his brain during his birth. His condition was poorly diagnosed and untreated for a very long time, which impacted his growth and development. Rajlakshmi along with her husband left no stone unturned seeking a proper explanation to their boy’s problem, consulting some of the best pediatric neurologists in the country. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no proper answer.
She was heartbroken to learn that the state of epilepsy and Neuro care in the country is quite miserable. Nearly 1 out of every 100 Indians have epilepsy, making it the most common neurological disorder in India. There are many hurdles that came in the way of tackling epilepsy in India, including high cost of treatment, a weak health delivery infrastructure, limited knowledge and access to anti-epileptic drugs, and lack of patient monitoring system that can warn about impending seizures. There is also a social stigma to deal with. In addition, there is a shortage of trained professionals to manage the disorder.
She avidly researched on epilepsy, the journals, articles, papers, patents, whatever that talked about epilepsy, its cure and the modes of treatment. While she read, she also searched for medical devices that could give an advance notice of an impending seizure. In India at least, there seemed to be no such device. The devices available abroad, especially in the US and Europe were bulky, bed or wall mounted and just not inspected for Indian use.
Epilepsy is caused by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. Since now a days we can pick up electrical signals from almost anything, Rajlakshmi realized that signals of epilepsy also can be picked up and could be extracted with the help of sensors, and once you pass this onto a processing hub, maybe we could predict epileptic seizures. And thus T-Jay was born – a mother’s brainchild named after her own son.
What Is T-Jay? How Does It Work?
T-jay, a wearable ‘smart glove’, which can read brain signals to predict the occurrence of an epileptic attack, senses 11 types of signals from the body, such as temperature, respiration and blood pressure, compares them against preset threshold values and gives indication of the occurrence of an attack. It can transmit signals from the body with and without internet connectivity.
T-Jay allows for predicting the onset of an epileptic attack, so that patients can receive timely treatment that can save their life or prevent permanent damage. It also helps doctors to take decisions based on the data that T-Jay presents, as opposed to decisions based on assumptions when data is unavailable. It also allows hospitals and doctors to remotely monitor patients using T-Jay and provide proactive support that could go a long way in ensuring that epileptics are treated in a timely manner.
As I transformed from a mother to a leader, I understood God has sent my boy in my life because through him we will help shine a light in the lives of people like him, and those that are less fortunate than him. If Tejas had not come into my life, I would have never understood the pain and trauma that people with epilepsy go through and would have never done anything to ease their plight.
During this period, she got to rub shoulders with some of the top experts in technology, business and industry. T-Jay was validated multiple times, from both the business and the technology perspectives, and by experts from Intel, TCS, CIIE and UC Berkely. She was one of the top 10 finalists selected by Intel’s Innovate for Digital India program who pitched their innovation idea to President Pranab Mukherjee in 2016.
For Rajlakshmi it was her personal experience and compassion channelized into a solution to help the epileptic patients and their families. With T-Jay today, she hopes to make the lives of people with epilepsy safer and better. T-Jay aims at making specialty healthcare accessible to the remotest places in the country and close the treatment gap by at least 40% in the next 5 years from the existing 90%. We wish Rajlakshmi and her team all the best in their future endeavors.