This Wearable Device Can Detect Opioid Overdoses

According to the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioid overdoses make 130 victims each day. With this in mind, the students from Carnegie Mellon University started to research a way to save the lives of many people. This is how they came up with a device that is similar to a wristband. Here is how it works.

HopeBand, Monitoring the Wearer

This device is called HopeBand, and it works by monitoring the oxygen levels in the blood of the person that wears it.

If the wearer has an overdose, the wristband monitors the oxygen levels and waits for about 10 seconds to see if it improves or not. If the condition remains the same as the moment the overdose was detected, the report on the device noted that it would “sound an alarm, flash red lights, and send out a text message alert with the wearer’s current location.”

One of the students at the Carnegie Mellon University, Rashmi Kalkunte, who is studying software engineering, explained that it is a vital device:

“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.”

All of these alarms and the message should help save people’s lives in case of an opioid overdose if the one that is overdosing is getting their medication – naloxone – to reverse the overdose. Immediately after the device senses the overdose and sends the alarms and message, the one that is overdosing or someone close to them could help them administer the medication to reverse the effects of the opiate.

The team has tested the device so far in the lab and didn’t had the chance to test it in real-world cases on opiate addicts, but the results show promises. HopeBand will first be sent to Pittsburg and then to all needle-exchange programs in the country, for free. If the real-world tests work out, this device would be sold at almost $16-$20, which is very accessible, considering it can save a person’s life.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere