Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and begins again. During sleep, when throat muscles are too relaxed, they expand and obstruct airways, disrupting the flow of oxygen throughout the body. There are assistive devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), whose purpose is to increase air pressure in your throat so that the muscles surrounding it do not become too relaxed to the point of obstructive expansion. Carmen Maier, the designer behind Lune, imagined a different approach.
Lune, a holistic training and monitoring system for people with sleep apnea trouble, encourages a sound sleep by stimulating oral muscles around the throat by means of pulsating electrodes. Inspired by the male frog’s mate calling technique, which is when the male frog lifts his head upwards in order to produce mighty ribbits, Lune incorporates an integrated airbag into the sleeping assistive device in order to maintain an upright position for their head, which in turn promotes steady, open airflow. Then, during sleep, Lune uses sensors to determine whether or not the user’s breathing canals are blocked. If the user’s throat muscles are too relaxed, causing the tongue to recede backward, blocking the flow of oxygen between the lungs and brain, then Lune gently pulsates electrodes over the throat area. The pulsating electrodes trigger the user’s nervous system to swallow, which then sets the tongue back to a neutral, alert position. Through this reimagination of a CPAP device, the user’s oral muscles are strengthened, which brings the possibility of long-lasting sleep improvements. Along with the product’s main feature of improving the flow of oxygen throughout the user’s body, its charging station integrates a fully-operative alarm clock, smartphone connectivity, and analysis software that tracks your sleeping habits, providing a visual guide to your personal sleep improvements.
By researching the needs and considerations of people with sleep apnea, along with the knowledge and science from doctors and engineers, Carmen Maier devised a product that ensures a good night’s sleep without requiring lifestyle changes from the user. While most CPAP designs provide a lot of relief in regard to airflow, this machine does that and also strengthens your breathing capabilities all while you’re sound asleep.
Designer: Carmen Maier