Congratulations to 2017 ECE Senior Design Team Ictal Inhibitors on winning second place in the student paper competition at the 51st Asilomar Conference on Signals and Systems!
Their paper, “On Developing an FPGA Based System for Real Time Seizure Prediction,” was authored by Sarah Hooper, Erik Biegert, Marissa Levy, Luke Van der Spoel, Xiaoran Zhang, all class of 2017, ECE junior Tianyi Zhang, their advisor, ECE faculty member Behnaam Aazhang, and Dr. Nitin Tandon of UT Health Science Center.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by unprovoked and recurring seizures and affects almost 3 million Americans today. Surgery has promising results but also some serious risks. The Aazhang group is looking for an alternate solution through electrical neurostimulation.
“Our research is focused on creating a seizure prediction system to help improve epilepsy treatment,” said Hooper, who presented at the conference on behalf of the team. “Over the past few years, we have worked to create a new seizure prediction algorithm that can predict seizures before they occur, and we implemented this algorithm on FPGA hardware.”
Senior Design teams advised by Aazhang and ECE faculty member Gary Woods have tackled the same topic for the past few years, always building on the work of the previous team. The Ictal Inhibitors iteration worked to develop an algorithm that they proved could accurately predict upcoming seizures before the brain enters the ictal state, the state where the individual is actively having a seizure. The team’s algorithm predicted all seizures in their data set at least two minutes before their onset, with 3.9 false positives per hour.
Future teams will work on implantable hardware that will respond to this prediction, applying an electrical stimulation to specific areas of the brain to prevent the seizure.
“I'm excited to see the progress that this year's research team makes as they move the project forward,” Hooper said.
The Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers is a yearly conference held in Pacific Grove, CA. It provides a forum for presenting recent and novel work in various areas of theoretical and applied signal processing. The 2017 Student Paper Award winners were announced Oct. 31.
This is the third recent award for the team. In April, the Ictal Inhibitors Team won top honors at the OEDK Showcase. The Excellence in Engineering Design Award brought with it a prize of $5,000. Two weeks before that, they took Best Senior Design Award at ECE Corporate Affiliates Day.
“We’re really happy our work got second place in the student paper contest,” Hooper said. “We're excited to see that our goal of using electrical engineering to improve epilepsy treatment is something that got other people in the field excited and garnered support.”