Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

A wearable sensor for pediatric asthma monitoring

Heleen Willemsen, MSc; Jurryt Vellinga, BSc; Beatrijs van Hoof, BSc

Competition Sponsor: EIT Health of the European Union

Asthmaware develops a wearable sensor, integrated in a smart t-shirt, that measures respiratory muscle activity. This sensor will help children with asthma and their parents to monitor the disease’s symptoms and react timely when asthma worsens.

1 in 10 children worldwide suffer from asthma, and more than a third of these children have poor controlled asthma. This means that they may suffer from frightening and harmful asthma attacks and are impaired in their daily activities, like playing and doing sports. Asthma is also the biggest cause of hospitalizations in children.

Asthma is a disease with highly fluctuating symptoms, and doctors have little knowledge on how the child is doing in between regular doctor’s visits. They have to base their treatment in memory of the parents. For parents, it is difficult to notice a deterioration in their child’s asthma, and asthma worsening is often noticed too late.

Our sensor monitors respiratory effort using so-called electromyography technology, capturing the small electrical signals that the brain sends to the respiratory muscles. When respiratory muscle activity is higher, this is a very direct indication of shortness of breath and asthma worsening. The smart shirt measures continuously during nighttime, to timely identify asthma worsening, enabling the child and its parents to increase medication, avoid triggers or consult the doctor timely. This way we aim to avoid asthma attacks, ER visits and hospitalizations, and improve quality of life, long term lung health outcomes and to decrease society’s costs on pediatric asthma.

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