Finalist, BT Young Pioneer Award
Asthma can be difficult to diagnose, but can be fatal if left undetected. As a result, many children are over-diagnosed with the disease, especially those under 5 years, and regular re-evaluations should be carried out after diagnosis has been made. Diagnosis is based on lung function tests, history and physical examination. Inhalers are often given as treatment to reduce the symptoms of asthma, but come with side effects like reduced growth and immunity. However, the best way to manage asthma is to prevent attacks by understanding what triggers asthma attacks and following treatment plan. Triggers for asthma can be different for each individual – from dust mites and allergies, to air pollution, smoke, and exercise. With increasing pollution levels, in turn the levels of these triggers are increasing.
Aged just nine years old, Arnav studied the cause, diagnosis and effect of asthma, and came up with a solution; the AsthmaPi kit. Using Raspberry Pi, Sense Hat, MQ-135 Gas Sensor, Sharp Optical Dust Sensor and Arduino Uno, and programmed using Python and C++, Arnav’s kit can help parents of children suffering from asthma and those not sure about the diagnosis of asthma. Using email and SMS text message alerts, patients receive prompts to take medication and reminders for review visits, and the accompanying booklet makes understanding asthma simple.
The various components that have gone into the kit mean users can measure temperature and humidity, take a reading of the amount and size of dust particles in the air, as well as hazardous gases like smoke, carbon dioxide, cigarette smoke, smog, nitrogen compounds, ammonia and alcohol. All of this data can be used to understand an individual’s triggers, and help physicians diagnose and manage children with asthma to prevent severe attacks. It will also enable children and their parents with better self-management of asthma. Whilst this kit was developed particularly with children in mind, this could be helpful for adults as well.
Arnav’s dedication to understanding asthma, and creating a product to help those suffering from the effects, is admirable – all at just nine years of age.
Finalist for the BT Young Pioneer Award, Arnav Sharma’s enthusiasm and innovation is inspiring, and his AsthmaPi kit could change the lives of young people living with asthma. To find out who won the BT Young Pioneer Award, visit the Winners 2016 page.