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Life-saving wearable can detect imminent opioid overdose

By Shawn Knight · 8 replies
Dec 28, 2018
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  1. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 115 people in the US die each day from opioid overdose. It’s a serious national crisis and one that technology may be able to help curb.

    Students at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a wearable device called the HopeBand that monitors blood oxygen levels and triggers an alert if levels fall below a certain threshold. It works by shining light from an LED through a user’s skin and measuring changes in light absorption.

    As IEEE Spectrum highlights, the smart wearable can sound an audible alarm, flash a red light and even send out a text message with the wearer’s location. The early alert could provide enough time to administer a life-saving dose of naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

    The students aim to test the HopeBand by distributing it to opioid users via needle exchange programs. If successful, a commercialized version of the wearable could debut priced between $16 and $20.

    It’s also plausible that the HopeBand’s functionality could be baked into existing wearables. After all, the stigma associated with a standalone wearable with only one purpose may be more than some are willing to bear.

    Permalink to story.

  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Guru Posts: 958   +679

    Chris Burrous just got taken by Opioids.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,134   +3,559

    It's all well and good but tell me, if they can build this for such a low price, why can't they do the same in the same low cost for diabetes? The latest "no needle" trend of readers costs a fortune to own and maintain ....
    avioza likes this.
  4. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,889   +1,164

    This has the potential, to end up just like back in the 80's-90's, when they put "breathalyzers" in bars.
    NOW, it becomes a challenge. I bet I can get higher without dying, than you can.
    For the so called homeless that abuse this drug, you think they are going to waste 20 bucks on something like this, or use that money for more drugs?
    Dimitrios likes this.
  5. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 713   +339

    Go on
  6. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,426   +455

    More people die every year from smoking then from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined. Alcohol 2nd to Tobacco also kills more people then all other drugs combined. But lets all focus on this opioid thing...?

    Aside from that, pretty genius invention, I imagine people would be more likely to wear it around their ankle.
    senketsu likes this.
  7. I think possibly the way the media reports this stuff has a big influence. Stuff like you mentioned flies under their radar so to speak, but when you have things like a middle-class couple ODing and leaving their child sans parents it catches public attention. Street level crime, epidemic suicide, etc, just doesn't get the reporters salivating so gets no coverage.
    It seems few stop to think opioids have been around for thousands of years and other than the Chinese problem (caused by the British, buying Chinese tea with silver and gold was bankrupting England so they fought two wars to force China to accept opium, from India under British rule) instead.
    Opium. morphine and heroin used to be available over the counter, no questions asked well past 1900 AD.
    Used for anti-diarrhea, mothers put opium on their nipples to soothe a colic baby. Mothers took laudanum (opium dissolved in alcohol) regularly. It was also used against depression past the 1950's and still finds some use now. Many, many people take opiates for pain also with no problems.
    I recently was in hospital and required two fentanyl injections, the doctor said some people freak out and refuse fentanyl because of stuff they saw on the media, and yet they are in a hospital talking to a doctor no less.....
  8. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 503   +387

    Yup, no money is going towards smoking, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car safety and alcohol. It's all going to opioid abuse and everyone is focusing on that now.

    Yup, the world is super black and white. No shades of gray in between.
  9. Bpsti

    Bpsti TS Rookie Posts: 18   +7

    Its a blood oxygen meter or pulse oximeter. Its not exactly new. You can find them now for 15-20$. Id be impressed if they could make a reliable one that worked as a wristband. The problem is anytime it got dislodged you'd have false alarms. Eventually people would ignore the alerts.

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