Nuts to 9-1-1: The Use-Activated Emergency Alert System for the EpiPen

Friday, February 12, 2016
Katherine Schweikert, Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, Worcester, MA
Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction, is a frequent occurrence that kills five people in the United States each day. Epinephrine auto-injectors are currently the only at-home treatment available to people with allergies. Part of the procedure of using an epinephrine auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, is to call emergency medical services (EMS) after administration. Despite training received by potential users, the critical step of alerting EMS often occurs late or not at all, leading to death of the victim. The engineered device enhances the EpiPen through the addition of Bluetooth technology. A circuit board installed in the EpiPen prototype is activated via a switch for pairing with a smartphone and then activated again through a trigger mechanism connected to the syringe of the EpiPen. Together with a smartphone application, the EpiPen activates the phone to transmit location data to EMS while conducting a call to the emergency number. The automatic call ensures that EMS are notified in a timely fashion. The product successfully makes the application specific call. When the product is brought to market, the auto-dial EpiPen will undoubtedly save lives.