Written by: Mike Wood
Published on: 4 Sep 2019

WideBlue wins award for developing a personal capnometer 

Wideblue, a Glasgow-based product design and development consultancy has won a gold award in the European Product Design Awards for a breakthrough medical device developed for its client Cambridge Respiratory Innovation Ltd (CRiL).

The device, N-Tidal, is a small battery powered personal capnometer which is used to measure the amount of CO2 in exhaled breath. The changes in CO2 concentration as a patient breathes in and out through the device can be used to assess the health of a patient's lungs.  Currently in normal hospital use capnometers are a large bedside machine connected to a patient's face mask or a sensor located in life support equipment. N-Tidal is transformational as it will be used as a personal respiratory monitor.

Russell Overend, managing director of the multi winning design consultancy, Wideblue, said: "We are delighted to be recognised by the European Product Design Awards for a second time.  In 2017 we won the ‘Best Design for Humanity' for our Peek Retina product which is a mobile phone based ophthlamoscope.

"With the N-Tidal product our designers sought to miniaturise and simplify this advanced technology to such a point that a hand held, battery-powered device could be developed for use by patients at home, by GPs or respiratory specialists.  Wideblue chose an infra-red LED tuned to the peak CO2 absorption wavelength and developed some patented infra-red optics to measure CO2 levels as the patient breathes through the device. Miniaturisation allowed the sensor to be located directly in front of the mouth -- this gave a much better resolution of the CO2 concentration in each individual breath profile.

"The device is used by simply breathing in and out through the breath tube in a normal relaxed manner.  A replaceable breath tube with integrated infra-red window means that the device can be used by multiple patients and prevents cross-contamination.  Within seconds a traffic light system (red, amber, green) on the device will tell the user the health status of their lungs and will, if necessary, indicate whether a follow up message or call for further treatment is required. Electronics within the device capture the data from the sensor, analyse the breath record and wirelessly transmit the data to a secure server." 

Overend adds: "The device is currently undergoing clinical/user trials and has already produced superb clinical results.  Subject to successful completion of these trials and regulatory approvals we expect the units to go into commercial production in 2020."

Key features of the personal capnometer include:

  • Intuitive two button operation -- power and go
  • Simple click and release breath tube and mouthpiece
  • Hidden until lit LEDs to present a clean user interface
  • Left or right handed operation plus two handed use for children
  • Audible and visual prompts during use
  • Angled for a natural holding position
  • Product stand to see when device is charged and ready for use
  • Separation of controls and results
  • Simple traffic light system - red/amber/green - to show user status of lung health
  • Mouthpiece sized to fit all ages