Tyler Skluzacek was in sixth grade when his dad, Patrick Skluzacek deployed to Iraq for a year. But when he came home, he wasn’t the same. Like so many other veterans, his father suffers from PTSD and has night terrors. Now a senior in college, Skluzacek wanted to help his dad, so he invented an app to help prevent the night terrors.
Last month, he entered a contest called HackDC. He and his team, which called themselves “The Cure” created an app for a smart watch that will track the veteran’s heart rate and movements. After a few weeks of tracking sleep patterns, the app can detect the symptoms when the night terrors start, and will use vibration or an alarm to waken the veteran out of deep sleep, but still keep them asleep. They call it “myBivy,” short for bivouac.
The team won first prize in the contest, and were awarded $1500. Their next step is to start clinical trials, and they’ve been working with the VA and sleep experts. They plan to start testing the app next January, with the goal of rolling it out next spring. And they’re hoping to accomplish those goals with a Kickstarter campaign. It’s a lot for one college student to take on, but Skluzacek refuses to quit. “My team and I kind of have a saying right now that my team and I won’t sleep until the veterans can.”