If Stephen Marsh has his way, 2016 might be the last year you have to rely on a big ole clunky CPAP unit to control your Obstructive Sleep Apnea. That’s because 2017 is the year Marsh, and his Massachusetts-based startup Airing LLC, expect to receive FDA approval and begin shipping the world’s first hoseless, maskless micro-CPAP.
Anyone with sleep apnea knows the hassles associated with wearing a CPAP:
- a mask strapped to your face
- a long hose that always seems to be in the way or half wrapped around your next when you roll over
- keeping distilled water in the unit for humidification
- finding a spare electrical outlet near the bed
- packing it all up to take with you when travelling
Because of this, the rate of CPAP compliance among sleep apnea sufferers is incredibly low. Airing aims to change this by creating a tiny disposable CPAP that it claims is just as effective as traditional models, yet free of the nuisances listed above.
There must be a demand for this product. Airing exceeded their initial crowdfunding goal of $100,000 in the first 2 hours of being released on Indiegogo. At the time of this writing, they currently have a whopping $1,441,322!
What Does a Micro-CPAP Look Like?
When you take away a CPAP’s mask, hose, power cord, and the main box you aren’t left with much. But what you are left with is exactly what Airing is offering: a tiny micro-CPAP that fits comfortably in the wearer’s nostrils on soft nose pads. If you’ve ever worn a traditional nasal pillow CPAP mask, then you are already familiar with the concept of how the Airing feels.
How Does Airing Work?
A traditional CPAP is a fairly large device. How does the tiny Airing replicate a CPAP’s function, while only a fraction of the size? The real magic behind the Airing is the tiny micro-blowers that make up the inner workings of the unit. These micro-blowers use electrostatic charge to suck air in from the room, and then force it out through the nasal passage. Despite being significantly smaller than a typical CPAP, the Airing is capable of generating just as much pressure – between 1-20 cmH2O. Because it has no external power source, it depends on a tiny battery similar to those found in hearing aids. This battery holds enough charge for 8 hours of runtime, meaning the Airing is intended as a disposable replacement for your CPAP.
How Much Does Airing Cost?
Aside from “Does it work?” this is probably the biggest question everyone has for Airing. A traditional CPAP unit can cost anywhere between $200-$3000 USD depending on the features and quality of the machine. Airing has designed their micro-CPAP to be a disposable, single-use device. Because of this, the longterm cost of using Airing could have the potential to be far greater than a traditional CPAP.
Airing has taken great strides to keep manufacturing costs as low as possible, while producing a quality product. They employ a relatively new manufacturing process called R2R (Roll to Roll) which allows the product to be mass-produced at a reasonable rate. With this in mind, Airing aims to release their mico-CPAP at $3/unit USD, or $0.60/unit after insurance reimbursement.
All of this is conditional, of course, upon FDA approval, something which is not scheduled until 2017. But Stephen Marsh is confident that Airing is the solution sleep apnea sufferers have been waiting for… and his 15,328 Indiegogo backers appear to agree!