If you’re not a person with asthma, you probably don’t think very often about inhalers. If you use one, however, you understand the unseen annoyances. Most importantly, you’ve probably dealt with a crucial choice: do I bring my inhaler and risk losing it because of how hard it is to store, or leave it behind and risk an attack?
Luckily, University of Utah medical student co-founders Teryn Holeman and Brian Parker are helping eradicate that impossible choice. With their streamlined, ultra-portable redesign of the inhaler, this medical tool has become more accessible than ever.
“It just started with noticing a problem,” Parker said. “We did a ton of market research and found that something like 90% of people with asthma want something different, a little smaller, a little more convenient.”
uAir is following a 510(k) pathway through the FDA, meaning that the mechanism of a device is changing, and not the medicine inside. Instead of a bulky inhaler that’s palm sized, uAir’s patent-pending design is roughly the size of a car key-fob. It also deviates from the traditional shape, now becoming a straight and vertical dispenser.
“The change from the ‘L’ shape is intentional to improve the device and medicine too,” Parker said.
In addition to a much more portable design, uAir inhaler also offers smaller doses per inhaler. This allows asthmatics to have multiple inhalers, improving accessibility after market research determined a demand; where a prescriber could only give one 200-puff inhaler to a patient now can become five 40-puff inhalers. Multiple inhalers means multiple locations, which means a higher likelihood of an inhaler being around for an attack.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2022 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.