Traditional CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices, which are worn at night to treat sleep apnea, tend to have bulky ventilation tubes running to a face-worn mask. The bulkiness and discomfort of the experience often deters sleep apnea sufferers from following through with treatment. To improve upon the experience, Apnicure developed an alternative therapy that uses a soft, flexible mouthpiece that is more comfortable and discreet. Apnicure collaborated with Mindtribe to create the small and quiet bedside console that works with the mouthpiece.
Developing a product to deliver on something so important—a good night’s sleep—within tight and often conflicting requirements was no easy feat. The product had to be effective in treating sleep apnea while also being unobtrusive, operating quietly and hassle free on a nightstand all night long, every night. Striking a collaborative rhythm early on, including design partner Whipsaw, Mindtribe architected and implemented the electrical and firmware design for Apnicure’s Winx, which is intended for home and clinical use. The EE and ME teams worked closely together to meet user expectations around both functionality and unobtrusiveness. One key activity was the development of novel sensors, enabling the refinement of the final product specification and ID through multiple rounds of prototyping, review and user testing. Given the difficulties of testing a product related to sleep, Mindtribe emulated mouthpiece conditions to quickly test and iterate designs, allowing for frequent course correction to ensure steady progress towards a final product.
The team succeeded in creating a medical-grade device without the complicated and burdensome components that make it look like it belongs next to a hospital bed. With a consumer product-like level of user friendliness and aesthetics as well as the necessary functionality to ensure a safe, effective and hygienic experience expected by users, the Winx allows apnea sufferers to participate in in-home treatment with absolute comfort and convenience.