In the early days of the pandemic, you may have read the headlines or perhaps even witnessed firsthand how many medical facilities struggled to keep up with an onslaught of COVID-19 patients who desperately needed oxygen.
For Asanshay Gupta, a high school student at Atlanta International School, that moment inspired him
“When I found out, I really felt like I could make a difference by creating something that could help them understand what they needed and how they could program their oxygen to suit different patients,” he said.
So Gupta designed an app called Oxygen Planner that helps hospitals and other healthcare facilities better manage their oxygen supply.
“It’s really cool to see something I’ve created in my home being used in over 90 countries by over a thousand hospitals,” said Gupta.
It’s an example of how technology is helping us breathe a little easier.
For the past seven years, high school students across the country have submitted ideas for the Congressional app challenge. Gupta was this year’s winner for Georgia’s 5th congress district,
The 11th grade family and school administrators were there recently when United States Representative Nikema Williams handed him a plaque. It was Finals week for Gupta, but he took a short study break to describe how the app works.
“Basically, we calculate the amount of oxygen contained in a cylinder or in a certain volume of liquid oxygen. And we show the user several machines that they can choose from, which would basically replicate whatever machine is actually in their hospital, “Gupta said.” And then we do a calculation to calculate how much oxygen that ventilator would use. “
The creation of Gupta had even more significance for Williams, who, in the spring of 2020, was among the first in Georgia to be hospitalized with COVID-19.
He says this level of student innovation during a pandemic is remarkable.
“They’ve been through a lot over the past two years and to see someone not only emerge from the pandemic more resilient than before, but come forward and create an app that serves their community, not just Atlanta, but our community, is something to be certainly proud of, ”Williams said.
Air quality reports, in real time
For patients struggling with COVID-19 or other respiratory conditions that require supplemental oxygen, the app is proving to be a useful tool.
For others, whose health requires them to keep an eye on air quality and pollution levels outside, other technological innovations are also helping with this.
DeAnna Oser is the Ambient Air Monitoring Program Manager for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
His department oversees nearly three dozen monitoring stations across Georgia, including many here in Metro Atlanta, which constantly check the air for fine particulate matter.
“We also measure ozone, which is another big step for Atlanta, we measure nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and a variety of volatile organic compounds,” Oser said.
It says there are two types of data collected: physical samples, which are run every three or six days and sent to a lab for analysis. And then there’s continuous collection, which uses technology to measure particles in the air and then return that data in real time.
“You may have heard of the Air Quality Index or AQI. Basically, this is a percentage of the EPA’s basic health limit that is measured, “said Oser.” You’ll see it on your TV, you’ll see it on maps when you go to our website or EPAs, and you’ll also see it on the EPA. smartphone app – it will say that the AQI for today is – and it all comes from the data we are collecting “.
While this information may not always be perfect (it goes through an extra layer of scrutiny before it’s officially reported for the record), it does offer a layer of real-time information. Oser says this also helps them provide smog warning forecasts.
“Those are from our office, and it’s also in collaboration with some Georgia Tech meteorologists,” said Oser. “And they actually look at the concentrations we’re measuring with these monitors and the wind patterns and the previous day’s concentrations and weather patterns.”
He says the technology for commercially available air quality monitoring equipment is also improving. He says that while these sensors may not be as sophisticated as official measurements, they can still give you an idea of what the air is like around your home.
“Because our monitors monitor a very large scale and I can’t tell you what’s going on on the corner of your street,” Oser said. “These air sensors will allow you to see what’s going on in your garden.”