Synapse Develops Technology for Innovative Asthma Management Device
Asthmapolis, a Wisconsin-based company dedicated to advancements in asthma treatment, partnered with Synapse to develop breakthrough technologies for asthma treatment. Combining medication sensors, mobile applications, and analytics, the Asthmapolis sensor attaches to existing rescue inhalers to collect data such as when and where patients experience asthma conditions. Having recently received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance, Asthmapolis will soon begin marketing the technology to healthcare providers for their patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
"Asthmapolis was a unique and challenging product for Synapse," says Dylan Garrett, Director of Business Development at Synapse's San Francisco office. "For people with asthma, an inhaler is a device they rely on regularly and, in many ways, have a personal relationship with. Beside the issues of complex functionality and small form-factor, there were numerous human factors issues that had to be resolved."
The Asthmapolis sensor is being used by 500 residents of Louisville, KY in a study to compile data that will help determine trends at the public health level and allow physicians to remotely monitor their patients' level of asthma control. By attaching to existing inhalers, the sensor communicates with the patient's mobile phone or base station to transmit usage data, including time and location, providing valuable information on possible environmental asthma triggers, such as air quality and pollen outbreaks.
With several versions already developed and tested, Asthmapolis tapped Synapse for its strengths in multi-disciplinary engineering. "Our mission is to make it easier for patients and physicians to do a better job managing their asthma every day," says David Van Sickle, co-founder and CEO of Asthmapolis. "In order to do that, the sensor had to be reliable and it had to meet the needs of people with chronic respiratory disease."
The end-to-end engagement updated existing designs for optimal reliability and functionality, resulting in a complex new medical technology housed in a small, lightweight, easy-to-use device. Alongside addressing mechanical concerns, such as accidental activation and design for production, Synapse enhanced the device aesthetics and ergonomics. Proper development of the Asthmapolis sensor required a deep understanding of existing inhalers with special focus on ease-of-use and manufacturability.
"The team at Synapse recommended several design changes that have improved the performance of the sensor and helped ensure it can keep up with the day-to-day life of an inhaler," says Van Sickle. "So far, the response from the participants in Louisville has been positive."
"It is important to Synapse that we are making a positive impact on the world," says Garrett. "We believe in Asthmapolis' vision and the company's ability to help the significant number of people who suffer from asthma. The technical success of their prototype was a critical milestone along the path to realizing this vision and we are proud to have been instrumental in making that happen."
Asthmapolis was founded in 2010 with the goal of improving the management of asthma for patients and healthcare professionals. The company's metered dose inhaler sensors, mobile applications and other tools enable asthma patients and their physicians to gain more awareness of asthma control and understanding of triggers, while also providing public health researchers with timely, comprehensive, and objective data on the burden of asthma in communities. Asthmapolis has partnered with organizations such as the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California HealthCare Foundation, Dignity Health and others. For more information, please visit www.asthmapolis.com.
About Synapse Product Development
Founded in 2001, Synapse Product Development is headquartered in downtown Seattle with offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong. Synapse's mechanical, electrical, and software engineers supply essential project management and innovative product development and design services to a broad range of clients from garage inventors to Fortune 500 companies. At Synapse, we thrive on solving our client's most challenging problems.