Student creates SIDS prevention technology after losing daughter
Having a child is considered to be one the greatest joys in the world. But what if that gift was tragically taken from you in the blink of an eye?
“My daughter Eleanore was born three months premature on May 2, 2010. We spent 64 days in the hospital and she did great despite all expectations. Unfortunately, after a month at home I woke up one morning to find she had stopped breathing in the middle of the night,” said Peter Seymour, a senior at ASU and founder of Seymour Enterprises.
Eleanore had passed away from a condition known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of death for infants after one month of age. With the cause of SIDS unknown, many parents like Seymour have to rely on devices to monitor the respiratory functions of their baby. However, many of these products run beyond the financial reach of the average family and are known to report frequent false-positives.
So out of frustration and devastation, Seymour set work on creating a reliable, cost-effective sensor device using the latest advances in medical technology to monitor respiration and vital signs of other infants who may be at risk for SIDS.
Employing grants from the Edson Student Entrepreneurship Initiative and the ASU Innovation Challenge, Seymour’s device is currently in the product development phase. “The sensor is a wearable electronic device the size of a USB memory stick. We are thinking of embedding it in some sort of band or piece of clothing so it isn’t even a separate device,” Seymour said.
With the help of two engineering capstone teams from ASU’s Polytechnic and Tempe campuses, Seymour is working to have a marketable device come May. Once the device is finalized it will then be put through the FDA testing process. Seymour is hoping to have a product for sale on the market within two years time.
Even without a finished product, Seymour says he has already received a tremendous amount of interest not just from a consumer standpoint, but also from hospitals.
“The current monitoring devices available are very costly so many hospitals will just have nurses periodically come into your room and check your vital signs. My device being at an affordable price point could lower the labor demands on these nurses,” Seymour said.
The ultimate goal for the SIDS monitoring device is to work in conjunction with Smartphone technology, since this is something nearly everyone has access to.
“It would be useful to be able to pull up vital signs on your phone from the past weeks or months right on your phone. You could then send the information to your doctor, or use it to look for trends and health patterns,” Seymour said.