Skip to Main Content
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, often unexpected transitions from normal to pathological behavioral states called epileptic seizures. Some of these seizures are accompanied by uncontrolled, often rhythmic movements of body parts when seizure activity propagates to brain areas responsible for the initiation and control of movement. The dynamics of these transitions is, in general, unknown. As a consequence, individuals have to be monitored for long periods in order to obtain sufficient data for adequate diagnosis and to plan therapeutic strategy. Some people may require long-term care in special units to allow for timely intervention in case seizures get out of control. Our goal is to present a method by which a subset of motor seizures can be detected using only remote sensing devices (i.e., not in contact with the subject) such as video cameras. These major motor seizures (MMS) consist of clonic movements and are often precursors of generalized tonic-clonic (convulsive) seizures, sometimes leading to a condition known as status epilepticus, which is an acute life-threatening event. We propose an algorithm based on optical flow, extraction of global group transformation velocities, and band-pass temporal filtering to identify occurrence of clonic movements in video sequences. We show that for a validation set of 72 prerecorded epileptic seizures in 50 people, our method is highly sensitive and specific in detecting video segments containing MMS with clonic movements.