Students at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have developed a wristband to detect opiate overdose and save lives. The wristband has been named HopeBand. HopeBand detects low oxygen levels. It can send a text message or sound an alarm if the condition is dangerous.
Opioids are a class of medicines that are derived from Opium. Opioids include prescription medicines like morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine. They also include narcotics like heroin and fentanyl. Opioids are highly addictive, even if prescribed by a doctor. They are commonly prescribed as pain relievers.
Opiate overdose is a condition that is caused by the overuse or misuse of opioids. In 2018, nearly 115 people have died daily in the US due to Opiate overdose. So Opiate overdose is a real and important problem.
HopeBand detects low oxygen levels commonly caused by opioid overdose. Opioids affect specific receptors in the body that also impact the drive to breathe. If someone is not breathing properly, oxygen levels in the blood drop significantly. This stops the vital organs of the body like the heart, brain, and eventually leads to death.
Luckily, there is a time gap between when an overdose starts and when someone dies. This is where a device like HopeBand can be useful. HopeBand can detect low oxygen levels and raise an alarm.
HopeBand uses pulse oximetry sensors to monitor the oxygen levels in the blood. Light from LEDs is shone through the skin and changes in the light absorption are observed to detect low oxygen levels to sound an alarm. The device can also share GPS coordinates of the overdosed user via a companion app.
HopeBand was developed by Puneetha Ramachandra, Rashmi Kalkunte Ramesh, Yu-Sam Huang, and Soham Donwalkar. They are currently pursuing a professional master's degree program in embedded software engineering at CMU.