The concept of a GPS-enabled asthma inhaler emerged less than a month ago, and already it is very nearly a reality.
SiliconSky GPS announced Tuesday that is has successfully developed a prototype of the first-of-its-kind asthma inhaler with built-in GPS tracking.
This is the result of a collaboration between SiliconSky GPS and David Van Sickle, the University of Wisconsin researcher who first unveiled the concept. It took them six months to come up with the design.
Design was a huge challenge, as the the inhaler had to remain small enough to carry on the go and wouldn't sacrifice the ease of use, since asthma sufferers need to be able to quickly get a dose of medicine when needed.
The prototype GPS inhaler is packed with technologies. It features Assisted GPS, a GSM modem, integral antennas, an embedded microprocessor, and an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery. The battery allows for up to 10 days of operation between charges.
According to Edward Olson, CEO of SiliconSky GPS, the company was able to pack all of that into a package the size of a Zippo lighter. For now, that tech package is attached to the back of a regular inhaler.
The device reports data from anywhere in the U.S. to the research center using 3G GPRS. It can be used to track asthma inhaler use trends, including the exact time and geographic location of uses.
It seems it won't be long before you can get one yourself. Many of these prototype GPS-inhalers are being used in Van Sickle's University of Wisconsin research program. The data collected will assist with asthma research and help SiliconSky GPS come up with the final design of the product.
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