Campaign US BIG Awards 2021: Best Use of Sound

Sick Beats — Woojer and Area 23

Music is powerful for innumerable reasons. One of them? Its ability to help patients with cystic fibrosis, a lifelong disease in which heavy mucus builds up in the lungs, manage the condition more effectively.

That’s the realization Woojer, a haptic technology company that makes an ultra lightweight consumer vest, made and ran with. Typically, patients with cystic fibrosis use vests that pound the chest in order to loosen mucus caught in the airways. These devices are bulky and often uncomfortable. But clinical research has demonstrated that agitating mucus using sound waves can be as effective as mechanical agitation. Woojer wondered: Could its vest be retooled to deliver therapeutic musical sound waves to the chests of cystic fibrosis patients?

The answer was a resounding yes. Named Sick Beats, Woojer’s haptic vest is the world’s first music-powered airway clearance vest for cystic fibrosis. Using soundwave therapy, it merges music kids love with the daily treatment they need. Leveraging Spotify’s platform, the vests sync with smartphones via Bluetooth, translating musical frequencies into powerful sound waves that penetrate the body to loosen lung mucus so patients can cough it up.

In trials — the vest is currently making its way through the FDA approval process — patients extolled the benefits of the musical experience. “Sick Beats works so much better than my old vest,” a participant named Drake said. “I can cough up more mucus, but it depends on what song I use. My favorite is Imagine Dragons’ Believer.”

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