WASHINGTON — When Tyler Skluzacek’s dad came home from the war in Iraq he was “a little bit different.”
He was in 6th grade at the time.
“I have a real personal connection to the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),” he recently told KARE 11, an NBC affiliate in St. Paul, MN.
Today, his father, Patrick Skluzacek, continues to suffer from “night terrors,” or deep sleep panic attacks, a symptom of PTSD, which an estimated 3.6 million veterans suffer from today. So his son, now in college, decided to do something about it. He and a team of programmers created a new app that can anticipate the symptoms of a future attack. The smart watch app, called myBivy (short for bivouac, which is a military term for a safe place to sleep), monitors heart rate and movement in order to help the wearer prepare for and mitigate night terrors while they are sleeping.
“After a couple weeks of tracking the soldier we can find the exact symptoms of the onset of the panic attack and try to use the watch or use the android phone to disrupt that or take them out of the deep sleep but keep them asleep,” the younger Skluzacek said.
“(I wanted to) try to create something that will help (dad) sleep better. That’s what it’s all about.”
The group created the app at HackDC, a forum for college programmers held recently at the Northern Virginia Community College Annandale campus. The event challenged programmers to design an app for PTSD. Skluzacek’s team won.
“My team and I kind of have a saying right now that my team and I won’t sleep until the veterans can,” he said. They are now raising money through a Kickstarter campaign to get MyBivy built, tested and developed for distribution.