Every day in the US, 130 people die of an opioid overdose, according to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There has to be something out there to save people’s lives, so a group of students from Carnegie Mellon University began looking for a solution. Fortunately, they developed a wearable device that can detect such an overdose in time to save the wearer’s life. How does it work?
A Monitoring Wristband – HopeBand
The IEEE Spectrum explains that the HopeBand is a device that monitors the wearer’s blood and its oxygen levels.
When there is a potential overdose, the wristband waits for 10 seconds and monitors the wearer’s oxygen level in the blood. If the condition is not improving, the device, as the report stated, will “sound an alarm, flash red lights, and send out a text message alert with the wearer’s current location.”
This wristband will inform that the wearer needs a dose of naloxone which will reverse an opioid overdose to save the person’s life – hopefully – in time.
As soon as the device senses the overdose, the wristband should help give the user time to administer the medication to reverse the effect or to be located by someone who can help them.
Rashmi Kalkunte, who is part of the team that worked on the device, and who is also a software engineering student (Carnegie Mellon University), explains why their work is very vital:
“Imagine having a friend who is always watching for signs of overdose; someone who understands your usage pattern and knows when to contact [someone] for help and make sure you get help. That’s what the HopeBand is designed to do.”
So far, the team working on the device haven’t tested HopeBand on users, but all the lab tests showed great promises. The device will be given out for free to all the needle-exchange programs in the US, but first, they will be sent to programs in Pittsburgh. If they prove to work in real-world testing, the device could be sold for about $16-$20.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.