Over 240 million people world wide suffer from breathing and respiratory problems according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Respiratory diseases account for every one of out six deaths. The potential to improve these statistics is drastic. Last week the 2015 Media Lab BREATHE Respiratory Hackathon and Global Respiration Initiative set out to develop new ways to help those with respiratory problems breathe easier.
The event was staged at three sites across the world: MIT Media lab in Cambridge, MA, Imperial College of London Hackerspace in the UK and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel. At each location students, engineers, health care professionals collaborated to redesign technology aimed at helping those with COPD or respiratory dysfunction.
This idea for this Breathe Hackathon came about by the COPD Foundation and Novartis Pharma. It is intended as a kick-off event for an ongoing, global initiative to address these issues in an sustained way: as the technology landscape evolves, this initiative aims to incorporate relevant advances into respiration technologies. The ultimate goal is to improve quality of life, improve patient compliance, improve patient health, and involve patient involvement in their care. Focusing on wellness over health care is another main focus.