Guest post from Alert-It
The twisting path of the development of the sophisticated range of support monitors supplied by Alert-it began in 1992 when David took up a challenge given to REMAP by a local mum in Hinckley. She wanted a device to alert her when her daughter, Jessica, was having a Tonic/Clonic seizure at night.
David knew nothing of Epilepsy at that time, but did know a thing or two about electronics having designed all the control systems for the tilting Advanced Passenger train and many pressure control & measuring products.
So having adapted a sensor he read about in “Practical Wireless” (how old is this guy!!) to detect bed movement, added a small microcomputer to determine if the pattern could be a seizure and coupled in a cheap wireless doorbell; he had the fundamental nocturnal seizure detector.
This was then used by Jessica until in 2010, when she was given a up to date, manufactured version by David (as seen on Midlands Today TV and in the local press). Her mum claims even the crude prototype saved Jessica’s life on more than one occasion. For the geeks; the write up from the REMAP annual report is attached.
While David cannot claim to be the inventor of nocturnal bed movement detectors for use in supporting Epilepsy as the Victorians used to fit a bell onto the bed head for this purpose; it must have been one of the first electronic versions.
It became apparent that there was a wider need for this device but David was not happy with using a simple doorbell which could easily fail to ring, for such a health critical application. So he set about designing a “failsafe” radio technology.
The first commercial products using this failsafe radio were available in 1996 and called Malf-iT; as in those dark non-PC days the Tonic/Clonic seizure was called “Grand mal”. It was sold by an agent called Aremco who specialises in supporting Epilepsy and many testimonies were received that confirmed it saved lives and brought peace of mind to the carers. To this day the/“Practical Electronics” derived sensor remains unbeatable in its ability to pick up seizure movements anywhere in a double bed, while rarely causing false alarms.
For the next blog the story shows where Malf-iT saved the life of a young boy and thus initiated what is now one of the most prestigious Epilepsy charities in the UK offering monitors to families.