Minnesota Student Creates an App That May Help Veterans Sleep (video)

By Faye Higbee

St. Paul, Minnesota – Macalester College Senior Tyler Skluzacek was in 6th grade when his father, Sgt 1st Class Patrick Skluzacek, was deployed to Iraq.  When his dad returned one year later, he noticed that something was “a little bit different.”

minnesota student

Tyler Skluzacek and his smartwatch with the myBivy app – Twitter Photo

“Your dad just disappearing for a year and coming back a little bit different and seeing his army buddies and them coming back a little bit different too… I have a real personal connection to the PTSD problem.” Tyler

The Minnesota Student and his Team

His dad suffers from what are known as “night terrors.” For no reason, veterans are often startled awake in the middle of the night. Extreme fear, sleepwalking, even jumping out of bed suddenly and running to the door or window to check them have been reported. Tyler wants to cure that problem.

A project for college students called “HackDC” held a 36 hour computer coding competition, and Tyler and his team called “The Cure” won it with a smart watch. They created an app for it called “myBivy” – short for bivouac.

The Military Times reported,

In 36 hours, he and his team “The Cure” wrote code and created a smart watch app called myBivy, short for bivouac, which he explained is a military term for a place to sleep.

The app tracks heart rate and movement. The goal is to predict night terrors.

“After a couple weeks of tracking the soldier we can find the exact symptoms 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,” Tyler said.

Tyler said the app will use sound or vibration to prevent night terrors.

The myBivy app earned Tyler and his team top prize – Best PTSD Mobile App for Clinicians. The team was awarded $1500.

Team “The Cure” at the HackDC competition- photo via HackDC

PTSD and the night terrors are a serious problem for many returning veterans. Clinical trials for the myBivy app will begin in the spring. Tyler has been working with both the VA and sleep experts on this project.

“I’ve had doctors and psychiatrists from across the country flooding my inbox with advice.” Tyler

In the meantime, his father is extremely proud of his son, and has actually been wearing the smartwatch to bed.