SiliconSky GPS designs ground-breaking asthma inhaler siliconskygps.com
RED LODGE—With completion of the design, development and beta-manufacturing of the first-of-its-kind GPS-enabled inhaler, SiliconSky GPS is helping a University of Wisconsin epidemiologist and inventor better understand critical triggers of asthma.
The technology enables indoor and outdoor tracking of inhaler-use trends, such as the exact time and geographic location of the asthma attack. In the pilot program, which is being funded by the Center for Disease Control, data is being relayed back to the scientist’s lab where it is compiled, managed and interpreted. A larger study will follow if the inhaler performs as expected.
SiliconSky GPS, which spent just six months on development of the beta product, hopes to continue to be part of its development.
“We put in a proposal to work on the next phase of development of the inhaler and are hoping for a larger scale production run once the pilot program has proved successful,” said Edward Olson, CEO of SiliconSky GPS.
The GPS inhaler is the latest in a long-line of innovative products brought to life by the GPS integrator and product design consulting firm. Olson’s past experience includes involvement in the design and engineering of the Hertz Never-Lost in-car navigation system by Magellan, the SkyGolf and SkyCaddie rangefinders by SkyHawke Technology and John Deere’s Starfire ag-navigation systems.
SiliconSky GPS opened its Red Lodge facility in 2006 when Olson and his wife, Jeannine Haugan, decided to move home to Montana and start a family. Because most of their clients are geographically dispersed, the couple knew that location wasn’t a major factor in their success. Montana provided everything they needed to maintain and develop business relationships.
“We travel about 25 percent of the year. The rest of our work with clients is done over email, teleconferencing and videoconferencing,” said Haugen.
SiliconSky GPS handles three to four major client projects a year. Often, the projects come from corporations that have GPS integration capabilities in-house but that need additional expertise to turn a project around quickly.
“We are one of only a few GPS integrators that functions as a small business, so we had a very good niche market to relocate back to Montana,” Haugen said.
Olson and Haugen hope to hire one to two employees in the next year. They will also bring in other expertise on a contract basis as needed, something they’ve done in the past. For example, an MSU instructor and a grad student were brought in to help with the design of the inhaler.
“We’d really like to be able to hire engineering graduates from Montana schools who want to stay in the state. It is one of our goals to grow our business using local talent,” Olson said.