Campaign US BIG Awards 2021: Health

Sick Beats — Woojer and Area 23

Roughly 30,000 people in the U.S. have cystic fibrosis, a lifelong disease in which mucus builds up in the lungs. To avoid serious infection, those with cystic fibrosis must make sure their airways are kept clear. It’s a cumbersome, uncomfortable process — bulky vests are used to pound the chest until mucus is loosened and coughed out.

However, clinical research suggested there was a better way. Studies showed that agitating mucus using sound waves was as effective as mechanical agitation. This discovery led Woojer, a haptic technology company, to investigate whether its ultra lightweight consumer vest could be retooled to deliver therapeutic sound waves to the chests of CF patients through music. 

In clinical trials, the method proved effective. What’s more, patients, particularly kids, liked the experience far more than the traditional mucus-clearing process. One participant described it as feeling like “I’m inside a speaker … no, it feels like I AM the speaker.” 

Woojer is currently conducting clinical trials in order to get the vest approved by the FDA. In the meantime, more than 2,000 cystic fibrosis patients have access to the vest on a rolling basis, free of charge. After FDA approval, the vest will be available at a much lower cost ($400 compared to over $10,000), creating more accessibility for the cystic fibrosis community worldwide.

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