Young Innovators: Heather Cape of Antidose

Heather Cape, a student at the University of Victoria, is part of a team developing Antidose, an easy-to-use Android app that helps connect those at risk of an overdose with individuals carrying naloxone kits.

Photograph by Jeffrey Bosdet.

For 22-year-old Heather Cape, logic and innovation go hand in hand. The software engineering student is using technology to address timely social problems in a simple, logical way.

Now in her final year at the University of Victoria, Cape is part of a team developing Antidose, an easy-to-use Android app with the goal of mitigating the overdose crisis in B.C. Development on Antidose began in the summer of 2017, and while it’s still in the development phase, when complete it will allow for faster responses to nearby overdoses by connecting those at risk of an overdose with individuals carrying naloxone kits, using alerts, notifications and map views.

Considering the extent of the crisis — B.C. had 129 suspected overdose deaths in May 2017 alone — Cape wanted to help by using the skills she already has.

“It takes a huge amount of bravery by first responders or witnesses to help someone [in an overdose crisis],” says Cape. “Even though I’m not helping directly, working on Antidose is something I can do to help.”

As a full-time student, she had to balance course work and work placements with the long hours of development and learning new technologies. But she credits teamwork and mentorship, a good work ethic and the desire to make a much-needed impact as driving factors behind this app’s successful forward movement.

When asked about future plans for this technology, again Cape is logical: “There’s no reason Antidose needs to stay in Victoria — it could work in any place that’s facing an overdose crisis like the one we’re seeing in B.C..” 

Lightning Round

What’s something you wish you’d invented?

I really like video games and I wish I’d invented Stardew Valley. It was all made by one person and it’s inspiring to see what one person can do.

Who inspires you?

Elon Musk. He’s creating technologies that people don’t know they want yet.

Most-used app?

Pocket Casts, the podcast app.

Tips for being productive?

I think making lists and writing down what you’d like to accomplish in your work period is really important.

Where do you go for inspiration and ideas?

In a room with the other people I’m working with. Having a group of people to bounce ideas off of is really helpful.

More Young Innovators

Samarth Mod and Rohit Boolchandani

Geige Van Den Top and Dan Briggs

Ann Makosinski

Devesh Bharadwaj

 This article is from the December 2017/January 2018 issue.