Project Details



A watch that monitors physiological signals

By Empatica

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @empatica

  • Health
  • Physical Computing

People with autism are often misunderstood and their moods can be difficult to read. Because many people with autism find it hard to communicate their feelings, loved ones are often unsure what causes their stress levels to fluctuate. Researchers at Empatica, led by Rosalind Picard, developed a wearable monitor to help doctors better understand the condition.

E4 is a wristwatch that measures physiological signals such as blood volume pulse, heart rate variability, peripheral skin temperature, electrodermal activity (EDA) and motion-based activity. Originally for research into autism, the watch is also useful for epilepsy sufferers. It monitors EDA and motion to detect convulsive seizures, and by measuring the length of an EDA signal during a seizure can indicate how long parts of the brain shut down. Experts believe that many epilepsy deaths could be prevented with forewarning, and the Empatica technology can give that vital alert.

The watch has been used in clinical studies at Nasa, Intel, Microsoft, Stanford and Yale.

Picard soon received requests from individuals who wanted the E4 for personal use, and designed a commercial version. Embrace is a slimmer, sleeker and more wearable version of the watch, which tells the time as well as measuring the same physiological signals as the E4. The watch sends data wirelessly to the user’s smartphone and apps analyse the information. Users can set alerts to tell them or a family member when stress levels are climbing.

Empatica has teamed up with the Epilepsy Foundation and private donors, so that for every Embrace sold another will be donated to a child with epilepsy. With a band of Italian leather and a thin metal face, the Embrace is as attractive as it is potentially life-saving. Order yours at

Image ' Taking a nap' courtesy of John Finn.

Last updated: 27th of September, 2015

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