STORY: This handheld device helps people with lung conditions breathe more easily.

An actor is showing how it works.

The smart device thumps on the chest to loosen excess mucus and uses artificial intelligence to monitor the patient in real-time.

(Daniel Hale, Designer)

“The idea is that it mimics the entire process of chest physiotherapy."

The designers say their hope is to make physiotherapy accessible to more people.

The device is called Pleural – named after a part of the lungs.

And it just won Britain’s prestigious James Dyson Award.

The team behind it are students in London.

Designer Daniel Hale says they drew inspiration from the health crisis:

HALE: “It was a period when I think we all became a bit more aware of our lung health…”

The team says existing products are expensive - so people aren’t getting the care they need.

Team members worked closely with patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, as well as other chest issues.

Their device percusses the chest with a calculated force and frequency, then analyzes the information to provide the most effective treatment.

Just like what a real-life practitioner would do, Hale says.

HALE: "So the patient would be put into different positions, different levels of force and percussion would be applied and then the trained physio or the trained nurse would be able to have an idea of how the treatment is progressing. So they will be able to hear if the patient is coughing up effectively or if there are sort of breathing, grasping, wheezing sounds, and then they can tailor the treatment to make sure they're targeting the right areas. And that's exactly what we're trying to do with our device.”

Still, designer Will Eliot says Pleural isn’t meant to replace in-person care entirely.

ELIOT: "I don't think we'll ever be able to replace healthcare provider and a carer in that way, but what we can do is provide people the independence and the autonomy to look after themselves, so they don't have to then go to an over-burdened healthcare system or to frequently see a very expensive healthcare professional to be able to look after themselves. Instead, they're able to do more of that themselves."

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