Epilepsy & Me : Building my own Sleep Lab

I need to record video evidence of me having seizures whilst I sleep, my doctors, neurologists and epileptologist need to see the evidence. I asked them if they had a camera that I could record my seizures, they said “no”, they had no solution, they said “I could use my phone” but when I sleep I have my phone turned off.

So, is there another solution ?

I have seizures when I sleep. I have Epilepsy and have been told that it’s highly possible for me to have SUDEP. I also sleep alone at home, so I need something to record / video what happens when I am sleeping, by capturing the ‘movements’ and seizures I make in bed.

I looked at the SAMi monitor ( https://www.samialert.com/ ) , it’s a great all in one monitor. Just what I need ! — but.. it’s expensive, and as a person with a long term disability, I couldn’t afford it.

There must be a cheaper way in doing this ? — So, how about using a cheap powerful computer, a night IR (infrared) webcam and some motion sensing open source software — here’s my plan.

I turned to the MakerSpace / Hackspace communities ( what is a Makerspace ? https://www.makerspaces.com/what-is-a-makerspace/ ), to see if there was a cheaper, open source solution to my needs.

Quick answer. Yes, there is. Here’s What I found (with links).

I want to share my solution with you and the #Epilepsy community, to help build a great way in capturing seizures at night (and also in day with a normal webcam) and by sharing the captured video with your doctors.

[ I will update this post on how it works out for me, so stay tuned ! or contact me via Twitter at www.twitter.com/samdownie ]

So, What do you need for this Motion Capture #Epilepsy #Seizures device/project ?

Raspberry Pi’s are neat little computers that can be placed just about anywhere assuming there is power and network connectivity nearby. These were made even more convenient with the addition of built in Wi-Fi on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

One application of these small computer devices, is for home security, or in my case, to record my sleeping patterns and seizures in bed.

All you need to add to it is :

  • some open source software (where the cost is FREE), in this case it’s MotionEyeOS
  • two webcams . A IR Camera and a normal webcam. These will allow you to record 24/7, or only when there is motion detected (you need two, one for night and one for day — or you can just stick with the IR night one).
  • a micro SD card, a 32GB or a 64GB card is all you need.
  • a USB card reader to plug in to your laptop/PC/Mac to transfer the .mp4 video that was captured, so you can then…
  • upload them to a cloud service such as Photos from Google ( http://photos.google.com ) where you can store your short video clips and then share these to your doctor via a link.

So, What is the Cost ? well, it’s cheaper than the SAMi ( www.samialert.com ) solution, however you DO have to build it all and maintain it all yourself. Also by building this yourself, remember, it can be a steep learning curve, so take your time in building it … heck, you might even just enjoy the experience in learning to code and building a computer (oh and kids can do this too).

Here’s the links to the Hardware and the Software needed for this project:


  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Buy a Raspberry Pi Starter Kit — You need to buy a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Here’s some links to USA, UK and Canada stores :

*please note: The Pi HUT also ships worldwide*

What Else To Buy ? :

  • 32GB SanDisk microSD card or a 64GB microSD card (or buy a few as you will need them!)
  • A USB Mouse and USB Keyboard (don’t need these if you buy a Starter Kit)
This it the IR Webcam ( Zerocam Nightvision camera — from The Pi Hut )

You can buy the above from The Pi Hut and ADAFruit, just look in their stores. (hint: Of course, you can buy these on Amazon too.)

$£ FREE Software (to Download):

Things to Read :

  • Motion Eye OS . It’s worth reading the “wiki” for all the instructions in how to use the software, as it may look simple to do, but can be a steep learning curve if you are not used to coding (or using a computer much). See the above link for Motion Eye OS to read more and to get the software.
  • MagPi . The MagPi is the official monthly magazine to read. You can download the free PDF, or buy the printed version online which will be mailed to you. You can now get it on Amazon ! Get it herehttps://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/

Here’s some more links :

Fun Projects you can also do with your Raspberry Pi computer, such as Retro Gaming ! :

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