Nov 2, 2015 | By Kira

The average person takes around 20,000 breaths per day without once stopping to think about it, however not only the quality of the breath itself, but also the air we’re taking in, can have serious impacts on our health and wellbeing. “Stress and breathing are highly interconnected,” explains David Hartmann, founder of Sendinaden and 3D printing visionary. “When we breathe too fast or too shallow we add to the existing stress in our bodies and this can cause serious health problems. It’s a two-way relationship. When we breathe well, we reduce the stress on our body from outside influences. We make better decisions at work and we sleep better. Good breathing is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy life.”

Concerned not only about the number of people in high stress situations, from athletes to daily commuters, but also by the tens of millions of city dwellers living in highly polluted areas—particularly in China and other Asian countries—who are either unaware of their breathing habits, or feel helpless due to their environments, Hartmann and his team at Sendinaden have set out to improve the public’s breathing ability through a 3D printed mask and smart feedback app that track the user’s breathing patterns and habits while providing clean air. At the same time, the company is looking to shift consumers’ and manufacturers’ perceptions towards 3D printed wearables, which they believe will disrupt the way consumer electronics are being brought to market today.

The company’s first product, the Pattern Breathe mask, is a 3D printed wearable device that can help people change their breathing habits in order to decrease stress and improve their general health. When wearing the mask, users can visually see their habits on their smartphone, from the depth and speed of each inhalation, to the way they use their mouth and nose. “The algorithms are working really well,” said Hartmann of the breath-tracking app. “Now we’re perfecting the user experience.”

The mask itself consists of a 3D printed casing, front panel, and strap, as well as an encapsulated electronics board. The strap is printed with Shanghai-based Polymaker's PolyFlex, a 3D printing material with high flexibility, making it comfortable to wear. As for the casing and front panel, they are 3D printed in PolyMax PLA, a tougher and more durable plastic. Mass Portal provided the 3D printers required to manufacture the masks.

The company sees 3D printing as the logical successor to injection molding, which due to the high price and need for large production runs, cannot keep up with the demand for customizable consumer electronics we’re seeing today. “Wearable technology represents a completely different paradigm that is best served by 3D printing," said Hartmann. “We see a consumer experience where you walk into a retail outlet, get a Pattern Breathe Mask curated and customized for you, go shopping and come back 45 minutes later to pick up your finished 3D printed mask.” Alternatively, consumers could 3D print the parts themselves and purchase the electronics module separately, ensuring customization while reducing costs.

Though the mask can be used by anybody, from yogis to high-intensity athletes, Sendinaden, based in Shanghai, is targeting Asian consumers, who are already connected by smartphones, and are likely already wearing facemasks to protect themselves from high levels of air pollution and smog.

“We’re passionate about bringing better breathing and, in turn, a better quality of life to all kinds of people, but particularly to city dwellers in Asia who face a long commute. They’ve got long periods of down time, and that time is being spent in a high pollution environment where they’re going to wear a mask anyway. It makes sense for them to take advantage of that time to change their breathing habits,” said Hartmann.

"We originally got together because we realized that there was a wasted opportunity. People were wearing filter masks and saw them as an inconvenience. We saw them as an opportunity, as a platform, to drive other ideas," added chief operating officer, Vivian Hartmann.

Sendinaden was recently named one of the winners of the open innovation program Grants4Apps Accelorator, launched by LifeScience company Bayer. As a result, the company has been working from the Bayer Healthcare Technology Acccelorator in Berlin since August 2015 to rapidly develop and commercialize the product.

The Sendinaden team

Though not much information has been released as yet about just how the filter will work, how much it will cost, or what the smartphone app will entail, Sendinaden plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign on November 23 which will no doubt provide more information, as well as a platform for them to bring the Pattern Breathe mask to market. The company expects that the product will be ready to launch as early as January, 2016. The company lists Grant4Apps and Bayer as their sponsors, with Polymaker and Mass Portal as their materials and hardware partners, respectively.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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