The first fundraiser for the Sensor Project was held on May 28, 2015, raising more than $13,000 for a life-saving initiative in the developing world led by UBC clinicians and scientists.
All funds raised will be used to purchase sensors that leverage mobile technology and tablets to create pulse oximeters, a key component of a pioneering innovation developed by Drs. Mark Ansermino, Guy Dumont and Peter von Dadelszen that could save the lives of thousands of women and children suffering from often fatal, but easily treatable, diseases such as pneumonia and pre-eclampsia.
A $100 donation purchases one sensor, pays for shipping to a remote or rural village in Mozambique or Pakistan, and provides training for community health workers so they can effectively use the sensor and the mobile app. The Sensor Project will supply sensors for an ongoing clinical trial of more than 40,000 pregnant women with pre-eclampsia called UBC PreEMPT.
“UBC is internationally known as a transformative force in global health, ranking first in the University Global Health Impact Report. The Sensor Project is a unique opportunity to expand our cutting-edge research to help mothers and children around the world,” says Dr. Ansermino, Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics and a pediatric anesthesiologist at BC Children’s Hospital.
Saving lives in the developing world is why Dr. Ansermino and his colleagues at UBC’s Electrical and Computer Engineering in Medicine (ECEM) research group developed the Phone Oximeter™ pulse oximeter, a sensor powered by a smartphone, in 2010.
“Through innovative engineering, we have been able to tap into the computing power of mobile devices to produce medical-grade, low-cost vital signs monitoring systems amenable to widespread usage in low- and medium-resource countries. The impact is exponential: one low-cost sensor could be used by one local health worker to screen everyone in their community,” says Dr. Dumont, Co-Director of ECEM and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “This can be done because the universal interface enables inexpensive pulse oximeter sensors to easily connect to mobile devices through the audio port. This means the device is driven entirely by the app software in the smartphone or tablet. Because there are no batteries, processors, network connection, or wireless configuration, it can be used anywhere – in remote villages or in low-resource communities around the world.”
“We have pioneered the use of oxygen saturation – measured by pulse oximeters – as a tool for identifying women at risk of life-threatening complications of pre-eclampsia,” says Dr. Peter von Dadelszen, Professor in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine and a Senior Clinician Scientist at the Child and Family Research Institute (CFRI). “Early identification of health risks by combining the oxygen saturation sensor and other sensors and integrating this information into smart mobile applications will enable community healthcare workers to recommend interventions and for individuals at home to seek healthcare, before complications arise.”
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five in the developing world. Pre-eclampsia is the second leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide, resulting in the deaths of 76,000 pregnant women every year. More than 99 per cent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
About The Sensor Project
The Sensor Project is a non-profit fundraising effort supported by UBC, CFRI, BC Children’s Hospital and its commercialisation partner, LionsGate Technologies, Inc. and driven by UBC’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Research group, BC Children’s Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team, and UBC’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
For more information, please contact Laura Ralph at 604.827.4728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate online, visit: www.startanevolution.ca/sensorproject