Timestrip smart indicators remind mothers of key dates
Castle Park-based ‘smart indicator’ company Timestrip has developed a new ‘smart indicator’ technology that is being adopted in developing countries where missed vaccinations are common. Working with the Trust for Vaccines & Immunization (TVI), a not-for-profit organization, Timestrip technology has been used to create a set of Vaccine Indicator Reminder (VIR) bands that are worn by new born babies to remind mothers when vaccinations are due.
The operation of the devices is based on predictable chemical processes, so no moving parts or electronics is involved - providing a simple, failsafe operation that is very easy to use. The new bands are activated simply by pressing on them lightly. An irreversible chemical process, based on a special food grade dye, then provides a highly visible countdown to the next vaccine due date. Three different colour bands are used: at birth, and at the 6, 10 and 14 weeks’ immunisation schedule. The infant receives the first VIR (Yellow) Band after receiving the birth dose of vaccines, and two more bands at 6 (Purple) and 10 (Aqua) weeks’ visits. Once the infants receive the fourth dose of vaccines at 14 weeks of age, they are protected against nine vaccine preventable diseases, ensuring their survival and protection from lifelong disability.
In Pakistan for example, over the first 14 weeks of a baby’s life, four sets of vaccines are advised, yet these are often missed: estimates suggest that up to 60 per cent of infants do not complete the immunization schedule. Dr Noor Sabah Rakhshani from TVI created the potentially life saving concept of the smart bands, and was the recipient of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations award to bring the idea to fruition.
“We are taking small but very important steps in our quest to protect children from vaccine preventable illnesses across Pakistan and around the world,” said Dr Rakhshani. “The environmentally friendly, low cost and widely used Timestrip technology has made it possible for the VIR band to be tested in low income communities in Pakistan and Nigeria. I am thrilled to be working with the team.”
Timestrip has also launch another product for 2020 - eTimestrip. This small, robust electronic temperature gauge indicates and reports TIR (total internal reflection) devices provide a simple and reliable way to detect temperature breaches during product storage and transportation.
The compact indicators are affixed to product packages, and provide a clear visual indication of the temperature conditions to which the package has been exposed during the entire supply chain, including the last mile.
Traffic light LEDs on the device show status information, and with the free smartphone app to retrieve data wirelessly, a more detailed report can be generated. This shows the date, time and extent of any temperature breaches that may have occurred.
By providing an auditable timed record of breaches, the devices open up a wide range of applications that can be used in pharmaceutical, healthcare, bulk food and other high-value applications with temperature-sensitive products.
“Our clients in a wide range of sectors look to Timestrip products to give peace of mind throughout the transportation and storage life cycle of their goods,” says Nora Murphy, commercial director of Timestrip.