Some allergies trigger severe reactions that require immediate medical treatment, and the first response in these situations is typically an EpiPen. The emergency allergy shot saves lives, but the syringe is bulky and inconvenient, resulting in many sufferers taking the risk of leaving them at home. In the future, individuals who have allergies may have a better alternative: a ‘watch.’
The device is being developed by students at Rice University, which has published a demonstration of a foldable prototype. The device is being designed to deliver a full dose of epinephrine in emergency situations, such as when someone with a peanut allergy accidentally consumes something containing peanuts.
In addition to the folding device, the students demonstrated a small wearable that resembles a smartwatch. The idea behind that concept is simple: someone at risk could wear an emergency allergy shot, making it far more convenient than the large EpiPen cylinders currently available to them.
The folding device, which has been named EpiWear, would be suitable for most allergy sufferers, and could be fitted within a wearable case to increase convenience. When unfolded, the device is around the size of a normal EpiPen and would be used to inject a dose of epinephrine into the user’s thigh.
One of the students working on the project, Justin Tang, explained:
The idea came from me, because I suffer peanut allergies. I’m very self-aware and worried about my life, but it was always difficult for me to bring something as bulky and obtrusive as this when going to dinner with friends or just going out at night.