How technology helps some to breathe a little easier – WABE

In the early days of the pandemic, you may have read headlines or even witnessed first-hand how many medical facilities struggled to keep up with pressure from COVID-19 patients who were in desperate need of oxygen.

For Asanshai Gupta, a high school student at the Atlanta International School, this moment inspired him.

“When I found out about it, I really felt I could make a difference by creating something to help them understand what they needed and how they could plan their oxygen to suit different patients,” he said.

So Gupta designed an application called Oxygen Planner that helps hospitals and other healthcare facilities better manage oxygen supply.

“It’s really great to see something I’ve created in my house used in over 90 countries out of over a thousand hospitals,” Gupta said.

This is an example of how technology helps us breathe a little easier.

For the past seven years, high school students from across the country have been submitting ideas for the Congressional App challenge. Gupta was this year’s winner of the 5th for Georgiayou Congress District,

The family of 11th graders and school administrators were there recently when US representative Nikema Williams presented him with a plaque. It was the final week for Gupta, but he took a short break to describe how the app works.

“Essentially, we calculate how much oxygen is in a cylinder or in a certain volume of liquid oxygen. And we show the consumer different machines to choose from, which would essentially replicate whatever machines are in their hospital, ”Gupta said. “And then we do a calculation to calculate how much oxygen this fan will use.”

Assanshai Gupta, a student at the Atlanta International School, has been recognized by US Representative Nikema Williams for his Oxygen Planner application. (Emil Moffat / WABE News)

Gupta’s creation was even more important to Williams – who in the spring of 2020 was among the first in Georgia to be hospitalized with COVID-19.

She says this level of student innovation during the pandemic is remarkable.

“They’ve been through so much in the last two years, and to see someone not just come out of the pandemic more resilient than before, but step up and build an application that serves his community, not just Atlanta, but our global community. “It’s definitely something we should be proud of,” Williams said.

Real-time air quality reports

For patients suffering from COVID-19 or other respiratory diseases that require additional oxygen, the application proves to be a useful tool.

For others, whose health requires close monitoring of air quality and pollution levels, other technological innovations also help.

DeAnna Oser is the Atmospheric Air Monitoring Program Manager at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Her department monitors nearly three dozen surveillance stations across Georgia, including several here in the Atlanta subway that constantly monitor the air for fine dust particles.

“We also measure ozone, it’s another big one for Atlanta, we measure nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and various volatile organic compounds,” Osser said.

She says there are two types of data collected – physical samples that are taken every three to six days and sent to a laboratory for analysis. And then there’s continuous collection, which uses airborne particle measurement technology and then real-time feedback.

“You may have heard of the air quality index or AQI. In essence, this is a percentage of the EPA’s health base limit that is measured, “Ozer said. “You’ll see it on your TV, you’ll see it on the maps when you go to our website or the EPA, and you’ll even see it in the smartphone app – it says it’s AQI for today – and it all comes from the data that we collect. “

Although this information may not always be perfect (it goes through an additional level of verification before it is officially reported for a protocol), it offers a level of real-time information. Ozer says it also helps them provide smog warnings.

“They also come from our office, as well as in collaboration with some meteorologists from Georgia Tech,” Osser said. “And they actually look at the concentrations we measure with these monitors, and the wind patterns, and the previous day’s concentrations and the weather patterns.

She says the technology for commercially available air quality monitoring equipment is also improving. She says that while these sensors may not be as complex as official measurements, they can still give an idea of ​​what the air is like around your home.

“Because our monitors are very large and I can’t tell you what’s happening on the corner of your street,” Osser said. “These air sensors will allow you to see what’s going on in your backyard.”

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