Thanks to David Van Sickle, we'll soon be able to track (and hopefully eliminate) recurring asthma attack outbreaks. Sickle, a scholar in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is working with students in the biomedical engineering program to create an asthma inhaler with a built-in GPS receiver.
The project is still in its early stages, but David's goal is to eventually map out danger zones that could be life-threatening to those stricken with the lung disease. He already has it all mapped out: "rescue inhalers" will pinpoint the location of each asthmatic attack and cross-reference it with other devices, attempting to detect new locations and trends that previously flew under the radar undetected by asthma researchers. Sickle envisions a time when his technology can help researchers discover exactly why people suffer from asthma.
"It will allow us to better target public-health interventions to the places and times when people are really suffering," Sickle said.