Imagine 27,000 people missing work one day, all for the same reason. Then, the next the day. And another group the next. It'd be a pretty big news story. Well, the culprit is one that we all know, but we may never really consider: asthma. AT&T Labs has actually done more than just notice. Labs researchers have taken proactive steps forward to help those with asthma.

The number of those affected by asthma is at an all-time high. Over the last decade, asthma prevalence rose from 7.3% in 2001 to 8.4% in 2010. Exposure to environmental asthma triggers is a major cause for many attacks.

“The increasing prevalence of asthma due to plastics, cleaning chemicals, and other airborne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the home and elsewhere are a likely cause,” notes AT&T Labs researcher Bob Miller.

How can AT&T technology help a biological ailment? Typically, you try and attack the problem at its source. However, through the Asthma Triggers sensor, AT&T Labs has flipped the idea and opened up its own source to attack the problem.

Researchers are developing a sensor that can alert asthma sufferers when there are high levels of chemical triggers in the air. By leveraging the power and connectivity of the network, the sensor will feed air quality data through AT&T's advanced collaborative care and healthcare information exchange platform, AT&T Healthcare Community Online. The resulting VOC information can then be forwarded to appointed smartphones, computers and tablets.

AT&T ForHealth innovations in mobile patient care strive to help patients make the shift from being reactive to being proactive with their care. With Asthma Triggers, AT&T Labs researchers want asthma sufferers to do the same.

Check out the video above for more information on the Asthma Triggers technology.

Innovation Space Blog