PortCO: Saving Lives

I will help save lives by making an inexpensive and easy to wear carbon monoxide detector.

Photo of Alexander Edlin
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  • Environment

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


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305-283-8582 17905 SW 188th ST Miami Flordia 33187

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexanderEdlin YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsUAuy-jCBpshDzVwykoAjw

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Carbon monoxide poisoning. It sends 50 thousand Americans to the emergency room, and at least 430 to their grave every year. While traditional carbon monoxide detectors do work, people often don’t use them, carbon monoxide poisoning can happen outside the house, they often can’t detect low levels of CO that can lead to chronic effects, and are often unreliable.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We plan to integrate portable digital CO detectors into people's lives. First, attachable detectors that are small and out of the way. Then, into people's watches, smartphones, purses, etcetera. We plan to make these reliable, but also affordable. This way, we can avoid long term affects that fly under traditional CO detectors noses, and stop CO leaks in such buildings like schools, hotels, homes, and so on.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

It all started on an early morning. I had been watching the news, and yet another needless death from CO poisoning had occurred. I thought to myself, “Why does it have to be this way?” Suddenly, a solution came to mind! If a small percentage of the general population had detectors, they could uncover outside admissions, leaks in buildings having inadequate/broken detectors, CO in cars, in addition to a variety of other settings.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Let's say Jonathan is a fourth-grader in Boston. On his first day of school, his parents hand him one of our detectors. Entering his first classroom, the alarm suddenly goes off. Upon further investigation, a leak in the heating system was releasing deadly amounts of this toxic gas, and the detectors used failed to detect it. Jonathan has just saved potentially thousands of lives, all with a 10 dollar gadget.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Presently on the market, there are big bulky wearable detectors you have to practically strap on to your shirt. However, there hasn't been a CO detector that you can just clip on to your shirt or backpack, nor one you can buy for a couple of bucks and carry it around. CO detectors that are small, easy to carry, affordable, and reliable just don't exist yet.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

While I am still on the idea stage, I know that my project will work because while carbon monoxide detectors do save lives, there are many problems with traditional CO detectors and I feel if we improved the application, reliability, and price of CO detectors, there would be less emergency room visits, and more lives saved.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I plan to make custom boards for the CO detectors (to make the size smaller and drive down prices) and to mass produce the detectors so everyone across the globe can get the detectors for less than 10 dollars. In addition, we could customize the devices to detect all types of toxic gasses, (for laboratories) and for other special uses.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Religious minority (non-Christian)
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Heard it on the radio.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Kevin Malaekeh

This is very creative and can help save many lives. Great work!

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