Answer: A key component of Airing’s micro-CPAP device is what we call the "nasal interface," a fancy way of saying nose buds. We have designed, built and tested this component while integrated to a test housing. This test housing allowed for normal breathing straight through with no micro-blowers and allowed us to simulate the size and weight of the proposed completed device. Various nose bud designs were evaluated.
Going in, we had high expectations.
As you can imagine, we wanted a lot from the Airing design. We wanted Airing to be inserted easily with one hand. We wanted the nose buds to form a seal within the nose that could maintain the treatment pressure. We wanted it comfortable enough to allow the user to fall and stay asleep while wearing it. And it had to remain in place through the night.
After a number of iterations, we arrived at a design that accomplishes all of these goals. Testing with multiple subjects demonstrated easy one-hand insertion with little, if any, need for adjustment. The passive breathing channels in the test housing were intentionally blocked to test for sealing. Even when the exhalation pressure exceeded the maximum pressure produced by existing CPAP machines, the seal was maintained.
Without comfort, we knew we'd have nothing.
The nose buds are molded from a soft and pliable silicon rubber material. Their shape provides a gentle and flexible seal with minimum exposure to the surface of the nasal pathways. To assure accurate fit and maximum comfort, the device is intended to be available in a range of sizes to accommodate different nostril shapes.
Our test subjects indicated they found the device comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay that way until a normal awakening, such as going to the bathroom. At which time the device could remain in place until they returned to bed. Upon waking in the morning, they removed the device and rated their experience.
Continued adjustments in the shape and materials of the nose buds has further improved retention and comfort. The amount of material within the nose was minimized as the shape evolved. In one case, the subject indicated he actually breathed easier with mitigated snoring even though the device was passive (a non-working prototype), perhaps a beneficial side effect of a slight opening of the nasal pathways.
We are good to gogo.
We will continue to improve the fit and feel of the nasal interface, but our current design will allow us to perform effective testing of the micro-blower component prototypes when they become available after a hopefully successful Indeigogo fund raising campaign.