What it does
lune is a holistic training and monitoring system that allows sleep apnea patients a safe sleep by stimulating oral muscles through electrodes. The product‘s design and concept embodies a whole new approach compared to traditional CPAP masks.
I was inspired by the stories that patients suffering from sleep apnea as well as their families had shared with me. After a long research phase I tried to make use of biology and found the principle of the sound bubble of frogs. The male frog uses the bubble to produce loud noises to attract females. While doing so, the frog's head lifts into an upright position. I used this principle, the lifting of the head, in the conception of "lune".The patient's head is inflated into an upright position by an integrated airbag which inflates depending on the position and inclination of the head, which makes it easier to breathe.
How it works
People suffering from sleep apnea have a tendency to relax the muscles in the throat during sleep. This is why the tongue slips backwards. So the oxygen supply to the lungs is blocked. As a result, the heart and brain receive too little oxygen, which can cause considerable damage in the long term. The "lune system is equipped with sensors that measure the angle of the head and breathing during a sleep period. If the tongue slides into the throat, electrodes start to stimulate the area. The swallowing sensation is triggered. When swallowing, the tongue returns to its optimal position. In addition, the electrodes strengthen the muscles of the mouth, which means that a possible improvement of the disease can occur. In case the electrical stimulation has had too little effect on the person, an airbag is installed to guide the head into the optimal position.
The design process was based on the Human Centered Design Process. In this process the target group as well as their needs, fears and hopes were placed in the center of the project. This resulted in several mockups that were then discussed with the target group, an engineer and a doctor.
How it is different
The difference to conventional methods and products is that not only the symptoms of sleep apnea disease are reduced, but the patient gets the opportunity to achieve a permanent and sustainable improvement of the disease by strengthening the oral muscle.
Lune is a concept that is designed to show a new way of helping sleep apnea patients. Technical questions have already been partly solved. The next step would be to start a series of experiments to test the actual effectiveness.