People susceptible to acute allergic reactions, particularly children, can find it difficult to keep an epinephrine injector (think EpiPen) on hand. Adrenaline, the common name of epinephrine, has to be delivered quickly before anaphylactic shock sets in, so a team at Rice University have developed a wearable injector that can be used at any time.
“The idea came from me, because I suffer peanut allergies,” in a Rice release said Justin Tang, who worked on the device at the Brown School of Engineering’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen with adviser and Rice lecturer Deirdre Hunter. “I’m very self-aware and worried about my life, but it was always difficult for me to bring something as bulky and obtrusive as this when going to dinner with friends or just going out at night.”
The EpiWear device uses a spring to activate an injector that pushes epinephrine into the body. The trick, of course, is to avoid any large vessels so that too much adrenaline doesn’t get to the heart too quickly.
So far the working prototype is a upscaled version of the device, and it will need some miniaturization to be a true wearable. Nevertheless, the team knows that a working dose of epinephrine ( 0.3 milliliters) will fit into a small wearable, along with the necessary mechanics.
We envision this technology being coupled to a smartwatch through which parents can make contact with nearby bystanders of their stricken children and activate the injector when an anaphylactic shock is confirmed. Perhaps there could even be wearable technology that can detect anaphylaxis and activate the device accordingly.
Here’s a Rice video report about the research:
Project info page: EpiWear…