The Embrace Story

From the idea to the crowdfunding and the final product

Many years of research are behind Embrace

In 2007, Prof. Picard's team at the MIT Media Lab developed a wearable that measured changes on the surface of the skin communicating the main component of stress. For the first time in daily life, you could easily see when stress started to grow, even before you might notice it.

While trying to help people with autism to be better understood, Picard found an unusually huge response from one participant. It turned out to be a seizure! This led to new investigations with Boston Children's hospital in Boston. With data from over 90 patients, the team learned they had built a more accurate method for seizure detection.

Their research became published in top peer-reviewed medical and engineering journals, patents were issued, and a version of their sensor is now in use in hundreds of top labs, universities, and hospitals.

While research continues for epilepsy and other medical conditions, many families have asked us for a personal version of the device to give alerts when a seizure might be happening. Also, many friends keep asking us for a low-cost version “to see when stress is escalating” in themselves or a spouse or child. Our wearable can help with all of these needs!

Embrace Story Timeline

Watch the Embrace Story

Empatica's Chief Scientist and Co-Founder Rosalind Picard tells the Embrace story at TEDx Natick.

Embrace Crowdfunding Campaign

The crowdfunding campaign was the best means to validate and bring Embrace to the market in the shortest time possible.

Every contribution to the campaign made the difference, we wouldn’t be here without our supporters' help.

Usually projects like the Embrace take 3 to 5 years to go to the market. The support received enabled us to bring Embrace to the market in one year and a half.

The campaign successfully reached the crowdfunding target of $100,000 in 24 hours. It concluded after 60 days with $500,000 of funds. The overwhelming support through social media, your real-life stories, questions and product feedback showed us the amazing passion for Embrace and its mission. We are extremely thankful to our supporters that shared this journey with us.

1540 Embrace watches donated to the Epilepsy Foundation of America

Buy One Give One Program

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, private donors and the Epilepsy Foundation of America we were able to provide the latest technology to families and children in need

Being a supporter is much more than being a customer

If you supported us on Indiegogo, then you helped to influence the course of the development, improve the product, and guide us through the most difficult decisions. You have chosen to trust us to develop an early-stage product, a very advanced one that had never been possible before. We are extremely grateful for your trust and we continue to work tirelessly to deliver what we have promised. While we wish the product could be made faster, we are not willing to make compromises on quality.

Embrace Milestones

We are working on the Embrace with top industrial designers and with one of the best manufacturers of well-known successful consumer devices.

May 2014

Electronics and mechanical design

November 2014

Crowdfunding campaign

December 2014

Finalized Embrace electronics and mechanical parts

April 2015

Engineering and design validation tests

October 2015

Production validation tests

February 2016

Embrace Beta Delivery + UX testing

Embrace Production

We are building a product that’s a first of its kind. The Embrace looks simple on the outside, but it’s an extremely complex device.

Read More On Our Blog

As Seen On

The first press reviews the Embrace watch received.

"Embrace, is rather different from the latest offerings from Apple, Samsung and Motorola: it can spot the warning signs of an epileptic seizure."

"A fascinating story about the role of accidental discoveries in science and design."

"The ultra thin Embrace is the culmination of several years of research."

"It can also do something most watches don’t: send out an epilepsy alert."

"Embrace is the medical-grade wearable we've been waiting for."

"A diary for understanding your daily life better."

"The Embrace has the slickness of a Jawbone Up and the brains of a PhD student."

"Makes it easier for people with epilepsy to detect seizures and let others know when they need help."

"A wearable device that monitors seizures, promises improvements in epilepsy treatments and research."

"The final product design is sleek and minimal—a key consideration in encouraging people to wear medical devices."

"The Embrace isn't just an attractive looking smartwatch that can do all the usual fitness-tracker tricks. It's designed to help epileptics track and manage their seizures without feeling stigmatized."

"Because Embrace tracks day-to-day activity, the data retrieved may help researchers further understand the factors that can be attributed to seizures."

The team behind the Embrace watch

We are a passionate team creating groundbreaking technology that is friendly, caring and human.

Meet The Empatica Team

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