Arnav Sharma photo

Arnav Sharma

BT Young Pioneer Award

  • Finalist, BT Young Pioneers Award 2016
  • Winner, Tech4Good People’s Award 2016
  • Winner, Tech4Good Winner of Winners Award 2016

Aged just nine years old, Arnav Sharma studied the cause, diagnosis and effect of asthma and came up with a solution; the AsthmaPi kit. Using a Raspberry Pi hooked up to a range of sensors it helps anyone living with asthma and is particularly useful to anyone 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 it easy to understand asthma.

Left undetected Asthma  can be fatal – but it’s also difficult to diagnose which means many children are over-diagnosed, especially those under 5 years, and regular re-evaluations are needed after diagnosis. 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.

Arnav started with two Raspberry Pis and added a Sense Hat, MQ-135 Gas Sensor, Sharp Optical Dust Sensor and an Arduino Uno – which he programmed using Python and C++.

AsthmaPi kit

The components in 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.

Arnav Sharma photo