Also this week in wireless gadgetry, displaying through Friday at the Hive, a showcase for entrepreneurs at the TEDMed conference in Washington, is GeckoCap, a device-, cloud- and game-based technology to promote compliant use of an asthma inhaler among children.
Colorful caps equipped with the latest Bluetooth 4.0 low-power transmission devices can be fitted on top of the child's inhaler. They flash at pre-programmed times to remind the child when its time to take a dose. The cap's on-board storage capability can hold up to a month's worth of date- and time-stamped data that's recorded whenever the child presses down to take a dose. The device automatically syncs up whenever it gets within about 100 feet of an authorized, Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smartphone carried by the child, his or her parents, a sibling or another authorized person. The data is then transmitted via the smartphone to the GeckoCap's storage system in the cloud, where games and displays can be created, stored and viewed by the child, parents, clinician or any other authorized person.
“We use the data where it is presented as a game for the child and the parents,” said Dr. Yechiel Engelhard, an Israeli physician, founder and CEO of the company. “Instead of getting the numbers, you get the nice graphs. If everything is OK, you see nothing other than an avatar that's smiling.”
Battery life on the caps is about nine months, long enough for a cap to last through three inhalers, if all three remain in the child's possession through their normal use, Engelhard said. “We know about half of the inhalers are being lost.”
Caps with dead batteries can be sent back to the company for refurbishing, he said. The company is toying with pricing models. It had considered selling the caps, but now is looking at selling the devices along with the data service, with buyers including parents, health plans and inhaler manufacturers.
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