Maria Pitallano and I, Erin Fong, are industrial designers who teamed up in
our last year at California College of the Arts to design two products to help
those with food allergies. Throughout this project, we heard many stories of
how food allergies affected people physically, socially, and mentally, including
how children have cried because they could not eat the provided food due to
a nut allergy and how a woman was too afraid to use an epinephrine injector
on her friend even though he was going into anaphylaxis. These stories made
us realize how terrifying food allergies are and how it is a fear that people
should not have to live with.
My partner, Maria, was already aware of the dangers of food allergies, being a
mom who has to take every precaution with what her daughter eats because
she has several food allergies. However, in the Summer of 2011, Maria's 4
year old daughter ingested a food normally thought to be safe, that happened
to have a cashew puree ingredient. Her daughter spent 3 days in the pediatric
ICU. Despite all of the work she had done with Erin on this subject, and fully
aware of the importance of administering an Epipen immediately, she was
still too afraid to inject her daughter. Instead, she took the risk of getting her
daughter to the emergency room on time.
After spending a year developing these products, we have received many
email messages from people, sharing their troubling stories with us and
desiring a better solution for themselves, family, and friends. Having an
allergic reaction can happen at anytime and anywhere, so our goal is
to give people a peace of mind that regardless of where they are, they
will be confident that the epinephrine needed to treat anaphylaxis is not
only available to them, but that they can intuitively, confidently and easily
administer it. We plan on achieving this goal with our two injectors that will
together cover both public and private locations.
Epi Inject is a new type of treatment delivery system for people who have food
allergies and received the Spark International Concept Design Award.
The Epipen, one of the only treatments currently available for allergic
reactions, has proven to save lives by administering the epinephrine that
will reverse the symptoms of an allergy attack. Because death can happen
in 10 minutes, epinephrine gives the person enough time to wait for the
paradmedics to arrive. However, an astonishing number of people with food
allergies refuse to carry it because of its bulky size, the stigma attached to
carrying a medical device, and the fear of having to stab themselves with a
Epi Inject for Personal Use: At 2" x 3", it is small enough to fit in your back
pocket or can be secured to your bag.
Epi Inject for Public Use: We want this to be as ubiquitous as defibrillators
at gyms and airports. To be installed in schools, parks, or restaurants, the
Epi Inject for public spaces is designed for quick and easy administration by
Both injectors use a spring loaded trigger, eliminating the need to use physical
force to inject the epinephrine.
WHAT IS NEEDED:
Because medical devices can be tricky to develop, we are hoping to partner
with a pharmaceutical company to further develop it and produce it. In order
to present this to a company, we need to take the responsibility of patenting
these two products. Therefore, the $7000 we are requesting will pay for the
patent for each injector. Any additional funds will help us to produce working
While we cannot give out the actual Epi Inject product, we would love to show our gratitude by sending you a personal note, sharing our hand drawn cartoons with you, or giving you an embroided iron on patch designed with our Epi Inject logo.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP:
1. What's your story? Share it with us by clicking on the comment tab.
2. Posting on facebook and forwarding this information to family and friends.
3. We're always trying to connect with people! Let us know if you know of
any professionals in the medical field who can help us make connections to