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The new smartphone application can detect overdose and seek help

new smartphone application, new smartphone, smartphone, app, application, second chance, technology, science, health, tech, tech news, news, University of Washington,

The new smartphone application can detect overdose and seek help
The application uses the second chance, which is still in trials, to detect sonar overdoses

Scientists have built an application that gives the smartphone the ability to detect an overdose of opiates and alert others to help. 

The application, called the "second chance," is still under development, but researchers hope to get FDA approval and eventually sell the technology.

With more than 110 Americans dying every day from doses of opiates, the opium epidemic is the most serious drug doping crisis in US history

"It's a major public health problem," says Jacob Sunshine, an anesthesiologist at the University of Washington and co-author of the second study. 

"Diagnostic signs and mechanisms for how people die are already established." Published this week in Science Translational Medicine

In other words, when taking overdose of people, their breathing changes in a specific and predictable pattern. 

The second option uses sonar technology to detect these changes and alert a friend, relative, or doctor who can then provide the antioxon drug.

"We do not use cameras, mark or reflect speech, we only use reflection."

The application works by sending silent sound waves to people from a distance of up to three feet, explains Rajalakshmi Nandakumar, a doctoral candidate in computer science at Washington University and the author of the paper. 

Then watch the signals that are reflected again as they change when you are breathing patterns.

The deceptive part was to teach the algorithm to identify patterns that correspond to an overdose. 

To do this, the team tested second chances with 194 participants at the safe injection site in Vancouver, as well as on overdose simulations in the operating room. 

At the Vancouver Clinic, participants pumped the opiates under the supervision of the staff and were revived if they took an overdose.

The second opportunity, installed on the Galaxy S4, correctly identified about 96 percent of the overdose, where breathing stopped for 10 seconds or less and about 87 percent of cases where breathing slowed significantly. 

As correctly predicted 19 of 20 simulated overdose.

To be clear, the app should not work all the time in the background. Instead, the idea is that people who use opiates run them in minutes before the injection and shut them off once they are clear that they are safe. 

It has been designed for privacy, with an encrypted background compliant with the Health Privacy Act

"People like not to use cameras, to mark or to speak, we're just using sound reflection," says Nandakumar.

The team now works to improve the user interface and make the algorithm more sensitive. 

False positives are a major concern. It is not only alarming, it can be a problem from the point of view of resources if it is false positive that has caused emergency medical services. 

Hope, says Sunshine, is that the application will help keep people safe so they can find more support in the long term.

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