Experts from a Coleraine Dental Laboratory have developed a revolutionary new anti-snoring device, with help from North West Regional College’s (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC).
Coleraine dental laboratory, CinchORTHO owned by husband and wife William and Judy Purvis have developed two anti-snoring devices designed to prevent snoring, and in more severe cases, sleep apnoea.
CinchORTHO’s anti-snoring devices, under their Soundly brand, work by gently holding the jaw forward in an open position which promotes a steady flow of air through the mouth thus making for a better night’s sleep.
Co-founder of CinchORTHO, Judy Purvis, explained: “We’ve developed three anti-snoring devices, two of which were designed by Philip Devlin from NWRC’s Product Design Centre (PDC) for the treatment of sleep apnoea which is a relatively common and fast growing condition where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.
This can have a major impact on the sufferer’s quality of life and can be very debilitating.
The rise in cases of sleep apnoea are linked to factors such as excessive weight and can be exacerbated by alcohol and smoking.
“Having previously worked with the Northern Ireland Technology Centre (NITC) at Queen’s University on our first Mandibular Repositioning Devices (MRD), ‘Soundly X’, the patent for which was published in January, we contacted Philip because we wanted to develop two more devices.
“As with the previous collaboration with NITC, we had the concept for the new devices drawn out on many sketches but needed the help of Philip and his Solidworks experience to turn them into reality.
“The prime desire for all three devices was that they were designed using dental Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and 3D printed, meaning they’re smaller and stronger than other devices.”
“We’d already invested in the software and 3D printers so by working alongside Philip on a 1:1 basis through the InnovateUs programme, we were able to design components, print trial devices and make alterations very quickly. At the same time, we also learned a lot about Solidworks which allowed us to design small specific features that improved the end design.”
William and Judy were also in contact with dentists and doctors who specialise in the field of sleep medicine and received feedback which was fed back into their design changes.
Judy said: ‘’We’re still amazed at just how quickly development moved once Philip came on board. “We also recently demonstrated our range of devices at the Irish Society for Dental Sleep Medicine and to specialists in the Irish Sleep Society. They’re now included in a range of MRDs demonstrated to patients attending Blackrock Clinic’s sleep clinic.”
Dr Fergal Tuffy, Technology Innovation Manager at NWRC’s BSC said: “This project highlights
the benefit of the InnovateUs programme from the Department for the Economy, and the support that Colleges such as ourselves at NWRC can provide.
“Product design is one of the key areas where we can support businesses and we have invested over £400K in a state-of-the-art Product Design Centre at our Greystone Campus in Limavady.
“With the support that CinchORTHO received, they now have the skills to turn their ideas into reality by being able to do create CAD designs and produce 3D prints and it is a great result to see that they have already brought new products to the market. I’d like to wish William and Judy and the team at CinchORTHO well with their business and encourage anyone who would like support to contact the Business Support Centre here at the NWRC to see if we can help.”