Versatile Design:
Bridging Athletics and Medicine

Breathlessness is a problem shared by people with asthma, COPD, emphysema and on the opposite side of the spectrum, elite athletes. For patients, weak breathing muscles can affect their daily lives. Breathing itself becomes a hardship. Athletes have extremely strong breathing muscles but are constantly chasing that next step to reach peak performance.

3D model of Powerbreathe
Design sketches for Powerbreathe

HAB partnered with Smallfry to develop a product that could both dramatically improve the lives of patients and tackle the precise standards of professional athletes.

The resulting product, Powerbreathe, is an electronic inspiratory muscle trainer developed to assist in breathing training. By providing resistance to the airflow as you breathe in, the Powerbreathe helps to strengthen breathing muscles, reduce breathlessness and improve stamina.

Line drawings for Powerbreathe

Using our user centred design process, we worked with HAB and their engineers to identify the unseen needs of patients and athletes. Powerbreathe is designed to suit both the clinical environment patients sit within and the active lifestyle of aspiring athletes.

Powerbreathe is completely portable and can be used by anyone, anywhere. The head of the product can be easy removed for sterilisation while using a mechanical interface and an electro-mechanical system to effortlessly re- index the valve on every use. As a result, Powerbreathe bridges the needs of athletes and patients without compromising on the experience of either, winning ‘Best Consumer Product’ at the Plastic Industry Awards.