Back in 2009, we told you
about a University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist using GPS to tag asthmatics
in an effort to better understand what was triggering their attacks. Two years later, David Van Sickle and his current company, Asthmapolis, are about ready to turn his research into a commercial product dubbed the Spiroscout. The USB-powered inhaler uses GPS as well as WiFI to track patients' inhaler use, which Van Sickle says will yield a fuller, more accurate body of data than the self-recorded logs patients are often asked to keep. The benefit is two-fold, Van Sickle says: physicians can use this data to adjust their patients' medication, if necessary, while epidemiologists might have more insight into population-level trends. As PhysOrg
notes, this isn't the first inhaler of its kind (incidentally, that would be Asthmapolis' first-gen product, the SiliconSky GPS), but it may be the most practical one to date in that it doesn't come with a bulky box attached. Spiroscout isn't available just yet -- the company expects it to ship in the fall -- but curious asthmatics can reserve theirs now.