There are 30 million people with asthma in the US alone and one of the biggest problems they have is not knowing when symptoms might occur or not always knowing what might trigger them. Scientists at Sparo Labs are looking to change that with Wing, a pocket-sized device that plugs into your smartphone and can detect early warning signs for asthma attacks.
Wing is a sensor that works with a companion app to accurately measure two important lung functions: FEV1 (how much air you can exhale in one second) and Peak Flow (how fast you can exhale). According to Sparo Labs, Wing meets the measurement standards for these two functions as established by the American Thoracic Society (ATS).
By using Wing consistently over time, Sparo Labs say users can visualize lung function, detect environmental and medication triggers that can cause symptoms, and know when to take action before asthma or related attacks occur. The more you use it, the more it learns about your particular condition.
Wing works on any iPhone 5 or later running iOS 8 (an Android app is in development)and plugs in via the headphone jack. It draws its power from the smartphone, so there’s no charging or batteries necessary and there are no moving parts. The accompanying app allows users to both monitor and collect readings, while also being able to share them securely with a physician through its cloud-based, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant system.
Sparo Labs say Wing can help monitor and manage a variety of lung conditions other than asthma, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), CF (cyctic fibrosis) chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis. It can also be used by healthy athletes, wind musicians and singers, and anyone who is interested in monitoring their own lung health.
The device is currently being reviewed by the FDA, and the company says it expects to receive approval in 2016, with Sparo Labs currently at the front end of an Indiegogo campaign that has raised nearly US$27,000 toward a goal of $50,000. Early bird pledges of $89 plus shipping and handling are still available with the retail price expected to be $150. Deliveries are slated to begin in August 2016, if all goes to plan.