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Developing the world’s first augmented reality asthma app

16 Jul 2019 11:30AM

The University’s first Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) has resulted in a revolutionary new app, which will help children with asthma.

Developed in partnership with the University by Stowmarket-based Orbital Media, the MySpira app improves the training of correct inhaler technique, using a combination of augmented reality and game play. MySpira is the world’s first metered dose inhaler training app to utilise the new augmented reality functionality, released by Google (AR Core) and Apple (AR Kit).

The University provided consultancy, research and development support and a graduate work placement.

Graduate, Tom Andrews, worked with Orbital Media on creating the App, experimenting with new technologies to determine their suitability and learning more about Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR). Tom said, “If you are passionate about what you’re good at, you can take control and shape a project and make a real difference by being an Associate with a company like Orbital Media. I’ve also got a permanent job at the end of it. Everyone in the company has been very welcoming and my opinions and expertise in the field have been valued.”

Professor Mohamed Abdel-Maguid, Dean of the School of Science, Technology and Engineering, added, “We were excited about the challenge that Orbital Media brought to us. The instructions on how to use an inhaler correctly for asthmatic children doesn’t appear to be that complex yet millions of children across the globe lose quality of life as a consequence of incorrect use of inhalers. Working with Orbital Media, our teams brought together gaming technology with augmented reality and psychology to produce MySpira, a small innovation that can potentially transform the lives of millions of children. This is the value we want to create and the impact we strive to make through our research. We look forward to more KTP projects in the future.”

Director of Business Engagement and Entrepreneurship at the University of Suffolk, Stefanie Thorne, said “Brokering knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP), and projects between SMEs and our academic expertise at the University of Suffolk, is what the business engagement team within the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) is here to do. Orbital Media has been a pleasure to work with and we are all extremely proud of the impact the product is having.”

In a recent study by the University of Suffolk’s Dr Suha Al-Naimi, 96 children aged 6 – 13 were analysed. It found a steady increase of information recall was observed with the MySpira app, over traditional asthma / inhaler education methods, such as leaflets and videos. Specifically, MySpira demonstrated an overall score that was 26% better than videos and 70% better than leaflets.

MySpira is available from the App Store and Google Play for asthma patients, schools, pharmacists, GP surgeries and hospitals to download onto smartphone or tablet devices.


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