A wearable automatically activated device to relieve unpredictable menopausal hot flashes
Student Team: Flash Four
Approximately 42 million women in the United States experience menopausal hot flashes. 86% of the affected women have at least 1-4 episodes a day. Symptoms of hot flashes include sweating, intense sensation of heat, and reddening of the skin. These are unpredictable in nature and can cause embarrassment and stress in social situations. Hormone therapy which is the gold standard for treatment is only used for the most severe cases and also has serious side effects. Devices that can alleviate symptoms exist for patients with mild to moderate symptoms. However, these devices can be bulky, disruptive, and inappropriate in social situations. Extensive user feedback highlighted the need for an inconspicuous device that can be worn in social or professional situations during the day. This led the team to work on developing FlashAway, a device that can detect hot flashes and automatically initiate a timed cooling response to provide relief and prevent disruption of daily life. The detection module would be an adhesive skin patch to be placed on the sternum to detect hot flashes by measuring increases in skin conductance. This would automatically activate the cooling module, which would consist of a piezoelectric fan incorporated into a discreet pendant. So far, the team has built a functional prototype of the detection module and an electronic simulation of the cooling module that communicate through a system of microcontrollers.