The IoT Hackathon organized by CAKE LABS at the University of Moratuwa’s School of Computer Science and Engineering was a major success, seeing more than a few innovative ideas by the participant teams. The hackathon was themed around the concept of the Internet of Things, where six teams of finalists raced against time to innovate and present their solution to the judges. After twelve grinding hours of coding and testing, each team presented their solutions, and post evaluation, Team Titans stood out as the winner with their solution “Inhalo: Breathing Made Easy”.
The Inhalo team, Keith, Dimuthu, Buwaneka, Radeshan and Buddhi understood that asthma is a serious medical condition, which can even result in death. Over 5 million people are treated for asthma every year, and at a very high cost. Children suffering from asthma pay a great toll as asthma is responsible for over 14 million missed school days a year worldwide. Over 10% of the Sri Lankan population too suffers from asthma, with a 50% increase of asthma patients over the past 10 years. To make things worse, there does not seem to be any national strategy to combat asthma. The key problems the team identified were that children are extremely reluctant to use inhalers, and the cost is relatively high for treatment; there is also no tracking mechanism to monitor progress as well.
Inhalo was created in order to solve a real world problem where asthma patients, especially children are reluctant to use their inhaler. The team thought about making this experience more appealing and fun by gamifying it. The inhaler will be connected to an app on the user’s phone; the user will then control the game via real world actions that have been pre-defined.
Inhalo comes in three key features; an all in one breathing trainer, a symptom hacker, and a mobile game controller. This provides the child the motivational factor required to use their inhaler, as it feels like playing a game. The “game” works by inhaling and exhaling, which moves a playable character across the screen. The inhaling and exhaling are responsible for the character’s movement and navigation through the game.
The hardware used for creating the prototype for Inhalo are an air flow rate sensor, a Bluetooth module and an Arduino Nano. The prototype also makes use of the Unity game engine along with the Android platform. Inhalo can be sold out at a retail price of $50, targeting asthma patients and children at hospitals and medicare centers, kiddies stores, nursery and day care centers and pharmacies. Overall, Inhalo offers a very creative solution in helping children suffering from asthma.