If you sleep next to someone who snores you know that the endless horking and honking isn’t very fun… and it makes the snorer’s life even worse. Some students and doctors in Baltimore, Maryland, however, have created something that acts like an internal breathing strip 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 little pair of forceps and they can survive sneezing and, one would assume, a good, hard midnight snoooorrrrrk. Patrick Byrne and Clayton Andrews created the product and it recently won the $10,000 “Use it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for best product. Other members of the team include Melissa Austin, Talia Kirschbaum, Harrison Nguyen, Theo Lee, and Eric Cao.
The team will be running a Kickstarter soon and is looking into a seed round for manufacture. The product, called N-Stent, costs 15 cents to make and will sell for about $4 a pair.
“The design is inspired by the typical cartilage grafts used in functional rhinoplasty to improve nasal breathing. In essence, the device is a tapered silicone stent consisting of two flexible beams bridging two soft pads whose shape closely follows the complex internal nasal anatomy,” said Byrne. “When deployed, one pad grips the nasal septum and the other presses against the lateral nasal wall to dilate the passage and stent it open. This dilation 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 up there with your finger.
The team is excited about the possibilities, especially since this can help people without forcing them to get surgery.
“Although the mechanism for reversing nasal obstruction is straightforward, there is no viable alternative to surgery for those who struggle with nasal breathing throughout the day. Breathe Right strips lead this nighttime nasal dilator market with annual revenues of $145M, amounting to an 80% market share. However, experts estimate a $250M market opportunity for less-invasive nasal obstruction treatment,” said Byrne.
“We have heard stories from dozens who have had surgery to correct nasal obstruction – with limited success and great expense – and hundreds who are reluctant to undergo surgery in the first place and feel they have no alternative for breathing better throughout the day, at night, or during exercise. This invention has potential to radically change the standard of care for nasal obstruction and provide a convenient, sensible solution to this widespread problem,” he said.
Look for this anti-snort-hork-honnnnnking device in the next few months.