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The AssureTech Team has been hard at work making the AssureTech Mobile App more effective than ever during an emergency. Thanks to a $10,000 grant we received earlier in the year, we're releasing brand new emergency features! Here's everything you need to know: Get Emergency Medical Attention When You Need It The AssureTech Mobile App has always included the option to locate the nearest hospital(s) in an emergency and display a translated message asking for help. But now you can also schedule transport to these hospitals with the new Uber integration. Just tap a location on the map, and it will open Uber with the location already keyed in! Ask for Help During an Emergency The AssureTech Mobile App already includes a message asking for help accessing emergency medical attention (that can be translated into 30 different languages), but will now include instructions for how to effectively administer and EpiPen. Would You Like to Download the AssureTech Mobile App? Our allergy management tool is available on both app stores. If you'd like to download, just tap one of the buttons below, or learn more on our website. We're Not Done Yet... Our team is constantly looking to introduce better solutions to our mix. We're in the process of designing our next, more-advanced tool right now. If you'd like to sign up to test our next-generation solution before it's available on app stores, visit our website.
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If you've been following our news lately, you'll know that we recently received a $10,000 grant to further develop our allergy solutions. After working with our development team at Perimark, we're just weeks away from adding new, life-saving features to our app. Get Better Help When You Need it Most If you've been using the AssureTech Mobile App already, you'll know that you can instantly locate a hospital during an emergency and display a translated "help" message (should the reaction occur while traveling). With the new update, you'll have even more ability to get help at your fingertips! Call an Uber Once you locate a hospital, you'll now be able to arrange for an Uber to pick you up and take you. This feature will work wherever Uber is available, including over 60 countries and 400 cities worldwide! Ask for Help Before you're ready to go to the hospital, the first step is (usually) administering an EpiPen. If you find yourself needing help with this, don't worry! Our new update includes detailed instructions for how to properly administer an EpiPen that can be translated in any of the languages in our database. After you show someone these instructions, you'll still be able to show them a second message asking for help getting to a hospital, and stating the food(s) that you're allergic to. Effectively Communicate 130+ Allergens Starting this February, our team launched a massive search to reach out to everyone with an allergy that we could to find out what allergens people have to avoid. After growing our list and working with a professional translation company, we're able to help as many people with as many allergens as possible communicate when traveling. Besides translating more allergens, we're also translating more effectively than what we and other apps have previously offered. We know that communication isn't a one-way street, so we developed a patent-pending method that takes the guessing out of ordering food. Now when you show a server what you're allergic to, they'll have buttons right on screen, translated to their native language, that let's them respond "yes, this food is safe to eat and can be prepared in an allergen-free environment," or "no, this food is not safe for you." We believe that this communication will make our users much safer! Stay in the Loop The AssureTech Mobile App is almost ready to start including these updates. If you'd like to download the app ahead of time, you can do so here: You can also follow us on social media, or subscribe to our mailing list to receive company updates, test our next-generation app before it goes to market, and more!
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HUNTINGDON, Pa.—AssureTech, LLC was awarded a $10,000 pre-seed grant from Ben Franklin Technology Partners to continue their development of software and products focused on helping people with severe food allergies. This grant coincides with the company’s release of their next-generation mobile app, the EpiCenter, for user testing in February of this year. The EpiCenter, AssureTech’s app in development, will aid people with severe food allergies by helping them notify emergency services, pre-designated emergency contacts and get assistance finding a way to the hospital. The app will also translate over 130 different food allergy terms, using a patent-pending workflow to assist users when traveling abroad. The app will eventually sync with a physical device that attaches to the user’s EpiPen or Auvi-Q, alerting him or her if they forget their auto-injector. The company is currently letting interested users sign up on their site to test the app before it is released to the app store to collect feedback. The planned launch of the app is later in 2019, with the physical device to be subsequently released. Ben Franklin Technology Partners the largest early-stage investor in the state of Pennsylvania. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. The organization provides funding, operational assistance and business support to emerging tech-based companies and small manufacturers for the purpose of creating and retaining jobs in the state. AssureTech also plans to allocate a portion of the grant to upgrade their existing application, the AssureTech Mobile App. The app, released to both app stores in October of 2018, currently translates the top-9 allergens in 28 different languages, helps users locate the nearest hospital while displaying a translated “help” message and connects them with different resources throughout the allergy community. The team plans to integrate the AssureTech Mobile App with the larger database of allergens, the advanced translation method and improve upon the existing emergency functions to provide a more wholistic solution for food-allergic travelers. AssureTech hopes to use their new grant to earn an additional investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners this summer, in addition to advancing their development efforts. A larger investment would expedite the development of their more-advanced app and corresponding device. Anyone interested in showing support for AssureTech’s mission is encouraged to sign up to test the EpiCenter App to help them collect user feedback on their new app’s design. More information on AssureTech’s allergy management solutions can be found on their site, https://assuretech-mobile-app.com.
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For anyone that's been following our blogs the past couple of months, you'll know that I've been learning about traveling the world with a food allergy for about nine months. My experiences, good and bad, helped inspire our team to design the AssureTech Mobile App to make It safer to travel with allergies. My stay in Taiwan is coming to an end this week, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that communication is key. So I wanted to compile a list of messages that I believe are essential to use when traveling. "No Cross Contamination" When I was first preparing to leave, I asked some contacts I knew to create a translation card for me. I explained to them that I couldn't have peanuts or tree nuts, and they wrote this down. Not long into my travels however, I realized that while saying "no peanuts" in some countries comes with the implication that this includes avoiding cross contamination, shared preparation spaces, etc., this isn't the case across all cultures--especially those where allergies aren't as common. You need a thorough translation that spells out the importance of creating an allergy-free environment when your food is prepared. "Please Help Me Find Medical Attention" One of the unfortunate realities of having an allergy is remembering that mistakes can always happen. Even when you take every precaution you can, it's still possible to encounter your allergens. It sounds obvious, but I was so concerned with getting the proper preemptive translations, that I didn't think about how to communicate during an allergy until I was going to the hospital in after there was an issue with cross-contamination. No matter where you're going, you should hope for the best, but plan for the worst, and make sure to have a translation prepared if you need help getting to a hospital--just in case! "How was this food prepared?" One of the most frustrating things I encountered with finding translations was that most times there's only one message available. Asking someone to prepare food safely is great, but there's often times when food is already made--such as when going to a night market or grocery store. I think having an alternative message asking about the way food was prepared is as important as asking for food to be cooked safely. "This is Joey, and he has a food allergy." Depending on the length of your stay, one of the single biggest advantages while traveling is surrounding yourself with great people that can help you navigate your new home. I was fortunate to have people like this in spades! I've been lucky enough to make incredible new friends that speak the language, and worked in an office where my coworkers not only translated my allergy to the entire company, but also took the day off work to translate for me at the hospital when I had a severe reaction. "Food Allergy" Simple but effective, a translated medical alert bracelet is one of the top recommendations I can make before start your trip. It can be a great way to communicate your allergy when all else fails! Personally, I used Mediband to create my custom translated bracelet. If you would like help generating a translated message, contact us! We Want to Help Everyone with Allergies Travel Traveling to and living in Asia will probably be one of the most impactful experiences of my life. It's opened me up to new cultures, given me the ultimate crash course in international business, and introduced me to friends that I consider my second family. I plan to travel as much as possible, and hope everyone reading this will have a chance to see the world someday too. Allergies should not hinder this. My team and I are very proud to have created a free app that translates food allergies and helps find emergency medical assistance. We're also working to develop our next generation app that will have advanced functions. If you'd like to download our app now, it's available on both app stores!
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Are you a software engineer? Did you major in computer science? Doesn't matter--that's not what we're looking for right now! As promised, our team is shifting focus from the AssureTech Mobile Application, and is working on developing our more advanced allergy management solution--the EpiCenter App and Device! As we work on bringing this new app and device to market, we're looking for help from the rest of the allergy community. Two Ways to Help 1.) Sign up to test the EpiCenter As we move continue developing our new application, we want to get it in the hands of as many people as possible affected by food allergies so we can hear your feedback on the different features we include to make sure we're helping in the most effective way possible! If your're interested in signing up, visit our site here. 2.) Fill out our Food Allergy Survey If you've got five minutes to spare, you can help our team build our next application by sharing some information about your experience with allergies. One of the big goals for the next application is improved allergy translations--and this includes creating the biggest database of allergens possible! Thanks to people from the allergy community who have already filled out the survey, we've been able to add everyone's allergens that has sent in a response--giving us over 120 different allergens to date! If you'd like to share some feedback with us, you can find our survey here. You can also sign up to test the app from the survey as well! What's on the way? In case you haven't seen our blog post or web page about the EpiCenter, we've got some information you'll love! Our advanced, free solution for allergy management The EpiCenter Mobile Application will include a number of advanced emergency functions, like notifying emergency services, alerting your emergency contacts, locating the nearest hospital, displaying a translated "help" message, and more--all at the press of a button. The App will also translate over 120 different allergens and use an advanced translation system we're developing to help you find allergy-friendly food wherever you go! And like the AssureTech Mobile App before it, the EpiCenter will include a number of ways for you to connect to some of the awesome resources we work with in the allergy community! We want our apps to be the ultimate mobile resource for people with allergies, and either can be or will be free to download and use. The EpiCenter device is our soon-to-be patent-pending, supplemental device for the EpiPen or Auvi-Q, that wirelessly syncs with our app and lets you know if you leave your auto-injector behind. Both versions of our case are designed to hold either one or two EpiPens or Auvi-Q's, respecively.
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Today is the last day of 2018, and everyone's got resolutions on the mind. Our team had an exciting 2018, but has far bigger plans for the coming year! AssureTech started with an idea for a medical device (called the EpiCenter) and corresponding mobile application that would change the way people manage their severe allergies. After nearly two years of research, development, fundraising, and prototyping, our team is almost ready to bring this vision to life. What's on the way? And how can you learn more? What does the EpiCenter do? Get Emergency Help If an emergency should occur, our app can notify emergency services and pre-designated emergency contacts, send them your GPS location, and locate the nearest hospital. Like with the original AssureTech Mobile App, you also have the option to display a translated message asking for help locating emergency medical attention if you're abroad. Remember Your Auto-Injector Do you have anxiety about forgetting your (or your child's) EpiPen or Auvi-Q? This recurring problem originally sparked the idea to start AssureTech. Our physical device (pictures on the way once our final design becomes patent pending) attaches to your EpiPen or Auvi-Q and syncs with our app. You'll receive a reminder whenever you leave your potentially life-saving auto-injector behind. Should you forget it somewhere, our app will show you where it was last seen to help you find it. And best of all, our case is designed to hold either one or two EpiPens or Auvi-Q's, respectively. Translate Your Allergy Carrying over from the original model, our new mobile application will also translate 100+ allergens in 25+ languages. Our translations give in-depth explanations when ordering food or asking about how already-made food was prepared. Keep Your Epinephrine Updated Simple but critical, our application will also help you remember to renew your medication to keep it up to date. How can you learn more? As early as February 2019, we plan to make the EpiCenter App and Case available for testing and pre-order. You'll get the chance to try the prototype version of our app while offering feedback to our development team. Three ways to stay in the loop: 1.) Download the AssureTech Mobile App and get in-app notifications about our progress in addition to enjoying the app's many helpful features. 2.) Subscribe to our website at the bottom of this page to receive emails when the EpiCenter is released. 3.) Follow us on social media--we're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and regularly make announcements and share helpful information about allergies here.
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With 2018 coming to an end, it's a perfect time to look back on the past 12 months. We've had a very exciting year, with releasing our first app being the top highlight. We wanted to step back and look at some of the lessons we've learned throughout the year. 2018 taught us a lot, but these four experiences, and the knowledge that came from them, are helping us prepare for an even more exciting 2019. #1--Great Projects Require a Strong Foundation This past March, I represented AssureTech in the Ben Franklin Technology Partners' Altoona TechCelerator. What's a TechCelerator? It's an 8-week CEO-training program for startups in a tech-related industry. AssureTech was one of only six businesses from our region admitted into the program, Each week, we learned from local business experts and got one-on-one training on everything from prototyping new products to maintaining investor relations. The overall theme of the program? Attention to detail and careful planning are critical if you want to create something great and long-lasting. Our team has worked to make sure these principals are part of our foundation from the beginning. #2--Presenting Your Vision is an Art Form During my senior year of college (Fall 2017-Spring 2018), my team and I had dozens of formal and informal opportunities to present AssureTech to peers, faculty, alumni, and organizations that offer funding to qualified startups. Like the Roman proverb states, "Experience is the best teacher." We worked with different professors on campus and business experts from the area to hone the way we present AssureTech to potential investors, partners, or collaborators. With each experience, my team and I get better at helping people understand our mission more clearly. This helped us make incredible connections in 2018, and is something we can't wait to build on in 2019. #3--Stay Resilient; Get Creative Following a first-place finish in Juniata's Startup Showcase, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funding needed to complete the development of our ultimate vision--a medical device that protects an EpiPen, reminds users to bring it with them while providing several emergency services as well. Unfortunately, we fell short of our goal and had to rethink our strategy. Facing this momentary setback, our team had an opportunity to find a better, more creative solution for moving AssureTech forward. This need for a new approach (mixed with some scary-yet-eye-opening experiences living abroad) led us to create a different mobile app to help people with food allergies while continuing to develop our original vision. The lesson was simple: setbacks present chances to evolve. #4--Seek Out Support from a Dedicated Community Our team loved 2018, and can't forget all of the great relationships we formed throughout the year to help us grow as much as we did. We've teamed up with different members of the food allergy community with the shared mission of supporting allergy sufferers everywhere. It's been amazing to work with bloggers (like AllergyBites and The Land of Can), companies that provide allergy-friendly products (like Mediband, Allerware, and TealMates), supportive communities (like Allergy Cloud), and allergy-related foundations (like Top 10 Challenge). Through these team-ups, people affected by allergies that use our app can access this amazing variety of resources in one mobile location. Looking Ahead Did you like our 2018 recap? Just wait until you see what we've got planned for 2019. Stay tuned, because over the next couple days, you'll be able to read a new blog about our goals for the New Year! If you'd like to be kept in the loop, follow us on social media or subscribe below!
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I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with the adage, "perfect practice prevents poor performance." This past week, I’ve been traveling around Thailand with my coworkers and learned that the secret to traveling in a country where your allergen is extremely prevalent is proper planning and preparation. For the past six months or so, I’ve been living and working abroad in Taiwan. It’s been challenging, but ultimately, has been an amazing adventure that inspired the creation our team’s first mobile app to help people translate their allergies. Depending on how familiar you are with Thailand, you’ll know that peanuts and tree nuts (my two allergens) are a bigger part of the food culture than in Taiwan, making this trip a daunting task. Thanks to proper planning and help from a new friend, my trip to Thailand was an awesome experience that I can’t wait to share! The Plan My allergy-friendly experience in Thailand can be almost entirely attributed to the pre-trip planning. There were two major steps I took that helped me: 1.) Working with Organizations Ahead of Time My coworkers at Kdan Mobile have always been incredible supporters of my allergy. They’ve done everything from translate for me at restaurants when we eat out, gave me a platform to show the entire office how to use my Audi-Q, and, of course, stay at the hospital all day with me to translate when I had an allergic reaction. For the trip to Thailand, the planning process started early. They spoke with the airline, the travel agency, and many of the restaurants we planned on attending to make sure that peanuts and tree nuts would not be present, or at the very least, identify them ahead of time so I would know what dishes to avoid going in. 2.) Getting Effective Translations I planned on using my team's allergy translation app to help me navigate Thailand. I work with native speakers whenever I’m adding a new language to the app, and I had the fortune of meeting Kavee Sudjit in the Allergy Travels Group on Facebook. He’s a resident of Bangkok (where we were staying) and also lives with food allergies. He manages the Feedy Bird page that shares his food allergy journey (English blogss on the way!) and has a goal of creating a business that helps people with allergies travel to Thailand! This was someone I had to meet! Kavee was very helpful by not only providing effective translations that I used whenever I went out, but by also sharing detailed explanations and advice for me to help keep me safe. Thanks to the combined planning efforts of my coworkers and Kavee, I was ready to travel to Thailand! The Food The food in Thailand was amazing! Since we traveled as a group, almost every restaurant was family-style, meaning we ordered huge entrees and shared between the people sitting at our table. My favorite dishes were probably the ones with squid or cuddle fish. These two foods were prepared a number of different ways and always served with a delicious sauce/seasoning bursting with flavor. Oftentimes, the flavoring was spicy or sweet with a little kick, but never in an overbearing way. We also attended night markets and floating markets (yes you read that right--there were markets floating on the water that you visit via boat!) that had great food available. I think my favorite part however was the fresh fruits and vegetables. Thailand was full of delicious and healthy options! At every single meal, there were steamed and/or sauteed fruits and vegetables. I also tried a number of different kinds of fruit juices for the first time like guava juice. Lessons Learned for Next Time I started this blog by stressing the importance of planning for your allergen and how it made the trip so much fun. This lesson was driven home for me whenever we didn't have a plan. Like I mentioned, Thailand has a lot of foods that contain peanuts and/or tree nuts. Whenever I was eating somewhere that we did not speak with ahead of time, it could be difficult to find safe food. The hardest part was when I was in the airport preparing to leave. All of the restaurants in our gate said that they used nuts and it wouldn't be safe for me to eat. This included two fast food chains from the U.S. that I wouldn't even think twice about going to at home. The lesson: call ahead when possible; always bring translations; and pack pre-packaged food just in case there aren't safe options available. Despite some restaurants not being safe to eat at, I think that if proper preparations are made, traveling to Thailand is a safe and extremely fun option for people with food allergies! Do you enjoy reading blogs like this? Do you have an allergy and enjoy traveling? Download our our mobile app or subscribe today to our website! We share new blogs, company news, and other helpful information. Plus, new subscribers get a set of translations for FREE!
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Our team has long-term goals for helping people in the food allergy community in ways beyond our application--we're developing a medical device that makes managing an allergy easier by helping people protect and remember their EpiPen or Auvi-Q, and notifying emergency contacts if there's an allergic reaction. Charlie Kovach joined the AssureTech Team in the spring of his freshmen year at Juniata College (2018). He's creative, has an engineering background, and is driven to design new products that can improve people's lives--making him the perfect person for the job. We wanted to introduce him to the food allergy community by asking him a few questions about his passions. Tell us a little about yourself? Charlie Kovach: I'm currently a student at Juniata College. I am on track as an engineering physics major and I plan on pursuing a field of engineering after my undergraduate degree. What is your background with food allergies? CK: I have a childhood friend who suffers from allergies of many kinds, so having to carry an EpiPen around is something I am familiar with. I've always had a desire to create a product that would help with the problems my friend had, like carrying around his EpiPen, as well as other allergy-related problems. How did you get involved with AssureTech? CK: When Joey first pitched his business idea to me, I was in to it right away. I came onto this team at the end of my freshman year of college and have been working with him since that point. What is your role on the team? CK: My role at AssureTech is to take our team's design for our physical product (the medical device that will communicate with our application) and engineer the product. What are some of your long-term professional aspirations besides working with AssureTech? CK: My goals professionally are to work for an engineering firm to gain work experience in the field. Eventually I want to move up and possibly create my own firm, or company based around personal motivation to innovate and create better opportunity for the younger generations. What do you do for fun? Charlie: I am very active on campus, including soccer, theatre and I also work as a campus Tour Guide.
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A couple weeks ago, I published a blog post outlining my experience living, working, and finding peanut/tree nut-free food in Taiwan. After publishing, I realized that my solution to eating here was basically to eat lots of eggs and soy. Given that both are among the top allergens, I thought it was only right that I do a followup blog that outlined some of the options for people with these allergies. That's when I decided to take the Top 10 Challenge. What is the Top 10 Challenge? Before I discuss my experience taking the Top 10 Challenge, I think it's important to explain this organization and discuss their mission. The Top 10 Challenge is an organization that aims to raise both awareness and funds for a great cause--helping people with food allergies! It's a two-step process: - Participants go a "day in the plate" of someone with food allergies to get an appreciation of what life with an allergy is like. They will choose to go a meal, a whole day, or longer without one or more of the top 10 allergens. They experience what it's like having to remember to ask about ingredients, spend time searching for safe-to-eat foods, and learn other avoidance tactics that they may not have thought of before. Taking this challenge creates empathy, and sharing the experience helps raise awareness. - The second half deals with raising funds for allergy research. Participants in the Top 10 Challenge register and create a campaign page with a fundraising goal. Friends, family, or complete strangers can help participants meet their goals by making donations. To learn more about the Top 10 Challenge, I recommend reading AllegyBite's blog post that explains it in more detail, and talks about all of the ways you can support this awesome organization. Going Peanut, Tree Nut, Egg, and Soy Free in Taiwan Once I set up my campaign page and set a goal of raising $500 by the end of April 2019, I set out to find what the best options are in Taiwan that avoid my now-four allergens. I was prepared with our mobile app, which now included two extra allergens checked off that I would present to vendors whenever I ordered food. The "Day in the Plate" Here are my favorite meals I that I found throughout my "day in the plate": Discovering New Food One of my favorite pastimes is working out and staying healthy. Each morning I try to start the day with a great source of protein. Usually, this means a 2-4-egg omelette, or an egg roll while I'm in Taiwan. While taking the Top 10 Challenge however, I came across a new meal that I might like even more: the smoked chicken sandwich. The chicken was delicious and it was topped with a sweet sauce and fresh lettuce. Sandwich shops like these are available all around Tainan, Taiwan (where I'm living), and made for some great meals throughout the day. Besides smoked chicken, I also enjoyed trying the tuna sandwiches. Exploring the Night Market Like in my previous blog about Taiwanese food, I returned once again to the night market to find dinner. This time however, I made sure order my beef cubes without soy sauce on them. Besides the beef cubes, I was also able to find smoked pork, chicken on a stick, amazing fruit smoothies, corn on the cob, and more that were free of all four allergens I was trying to avoid! Snacks By far, my favorite snack in Taiwan is fruit. All of the fruit I've encountered so far in Taiwan is much sweeter than their U.S. counterparts and I love it! My personal favorites so far have been the apples, guava, and cantaloupe. And the best part--there's fresh fruit stands everywhere so it's easy to find! Reflections Admittedly, I went into the challenge thinking I would be at a slight advantage, having lived with food allergies for 23 years now. I was already used to checking ingredients and thought this would help. However, it's completely different when it's allergies you aren't used to. It gave me an even stronger appreciation for the changes people who develop allergies later in life face. I had to completely rethink every meal! I never realized how many foods contain egg and/or soy. I was constantly surprised to see which items, that have been staples in my life, I couldn't have anymore. Everything from simple rice dishes to my favorite protein powder were now off limits. It was an eye-opening experience because I saw the struggles people with different allergies face every day. I encourage everyone to try the Top 10 Challenge--even if it's only for one meal--so you can experience a little bit of life with an allergy. If you're interested in taking the challenge, sign up here!
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