Medical device invented by a 17 year-old female student.
The World Health Organization reports that 600 million people worldwide suffer from some form of respiratory illness like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), restrictive lung disease, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Much attention is given to people with COPD because the illness is the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, with 75% of those afflicted receive no medical treatment.
That is because the diagnostic device for COPD called the spirometer is often too expensive. It functions as a lung monitor by measuring the volume of air that a patient expels, but for a cost – at thousands of dollars. This is why it is no longer surprising that almost 90% of all pulmonary illness-related deaths occur in developing nations due to the lack of access to affordable diagnostic equipment.
Now a 17-year-old believes she has the low-cost alternative for spirometers. Maya Varma, an engineering sophomore at Stanford University, developed a device which serves as a pulmonary function analyzer for the diagnosis of five pulmonary illnesses. This was after a close friend had an asthma attack and had to be diagnosed using the expensive device.
The device includes a 3D-printed mouthpiece in which the patient exhales and an electronics board that processes the data. There is an accompanying app which is compatible with Android to graph the incoming data and interpret the results.
That’s it. All of this does not cost more than $35.
Varma revealed that the system was able to detect and classify symptoms of the five different respiratory diseases mentioned with utmost accuracy.
As to why the device is inexpensive unlike spirometers, she said that it is a result of using cheap microcontrollers, open-source software, 3D-printing technology and budget smartphones and tablets.
For her ingenuity with this device, Varma won the First Place Medal of Distinction for Innovation at the Intel Science Talent Search. This came with a $150,000 cash award which she is using to pay for tuition.
The 17-year-old genius is looking forward to work in the field of medical device innovation. With this device she developed, she has a bright future ahead of her.
Source: Study Breaks