If you sleep next to someone who snores, you know endless honking and honking isn’t much fun…and it makes the snorer’s life even worse. However, some students and doctors in Baltimore, Maryland have created something that acts like an internal breathing tape to help you breathe better and snore less.
Called assistENT, the company uses small, reusable rings that fit into the nostril and open the septum. You insert and remove them yourself with a small pair of forceps and they can survive sneezes and, one would assume, a good, hard midnight snoooorrrrrk. Patrick Byrne and Clayton Andrews created the product and it recently won the “Use it!” of $10,000. Lemelson-MIT Student Award for Best Product. Other team members include Melissa Austin, Talia Kirschbaum, Harrison Nguyen, Theo Lee, and Eric Cao.
The team will launch a Kickstarter soon and are investigating a release cycle for manufacturing. The product, called N-Stent, costs 15 cents to make and will sell for around $4 a pair.
“The design is inspired by typical cartilage grafts used in functional rhinoplasty to improve nasal breathing. Essentially, the device is a conical silicone stent consisting of two flexible beams connecting two soft pads whose shape closely follows the complex internal nasal anatomy,” said Byrne. “When deployed, one swab grips the nasal septum and the other presses against the lateral nasal wall to dilate the passageway and open it. This expansion force comes from the two flexible beams, which bend to provide a gentle spring force while forming a lumen to accommodate airflow.
The product fits into the nasal vestibule and to get it in and out you can either use the simple applicator or just stick it in with your finger.
The team is excited about the possibilities, especially since it can help people without forcing them into surgery.
“Although the mechanism for reversing nasal obstruction is simple, there is no viable alternative to surgery for those who struggle with nasal breathing throughout the day. Breathe Right strips dominate this nocturnal nasal dilators market with annual revenues of $145 million, representing an 80% market share, however, experts estimate a $250 million market opportunity for the less invasive treatment of nasal obstruction,” Byrne said.
“We’ve heard dozens of stories from dozens of people who have had surgery to correct nasal obstruction – with limited success and great expense – and hundreds of people who are hesitant to have surgery in the first place and feel they have no alternative to breathing better throughout the day, at night, or during exercise. This invention has the potential to dramatically change the standard of care for nasal obstruction and provide a practical and sensible solution to this widespread problem,” he said.
Look for this anti-snort-hork-honnnnking device in the next few months.