Over 1.5 million Americans are prescribed supplemental oxygen for use outside the hospital for a range of medical conditions. Although there are different options available for how outpatients receive supplemental oxygen, the issues associated with the therapeutic goals and optimal use of home oxygen continue to be considered and are not considered solved. Patients consistently express concerns around the following issues particularly: having an oxygen supply be lighter and more portable, making it last longer, and ensuring that they get the amount (“flow rate”) that is needed.
To address these issues, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is sponsoring the Air You Wear Challenge – a two phase challenge with a total prize purse of $500,000 to help teams with compelling ideas to develop and demonstrate proof of concept for their innovative approaches for providing supplemental oxygen to outpatients, while promoting activity in the field and awareness of this problem to the wider community. The NHLBI is interested in providing more supplemental oxygen options to outpatients. Proposed approaches can be for new devices, modifications to existing technologies, or something else entirely.
The goal of this challenge is to broadly stimulate research and development of processes and technologies that actively address the different outpatient issues associated with use of supplemental oxygen. People who use supplemental oxygen and their loved ones are anxious for new options that are lighter, more portable, longer-lasting, and capable of providing the required oxygen level (flow-rate). If you have actionable ideas for how to improve the portability, flow rate, or duration of home oxygen supplies, the NHLBI wants to hear about them.
Total Cash Prize Pool
This two-phase challenge will award a total prize purse of $500,000. At the end of Phase 1, up to eight (8) finalists (whether an individual, team of individuals, or entity), proposing the most compelling and impactful solutions, will each receive $50,000. Only Phase 1 finalists will be invited to participate in Phase 2, and they are strongly encouraged to use their prize money to help develop a working prototype and/or demonstration of the proposed approach during the Phase 2 development period. At the end of Phase 2, up to three (3) winners will be awarded first, second, and third prizes of $60,000, $30,000, and $10,000 respectively for the best prototypes/demonstrations.
Non-monetary Prizes (if applicable)
Phase 1 finalists will have equal access to subject matter experts during the Phase 2 development period to ensure that development work is well-aligned with patient needs. At the end of Phase 2, participants may be offered introductions or networking opportunities to help them get to the next stage of development. Phase 2 winners will also be recognized through a winners’ webinar and announcement on the NHLBI website. Finally, as with all NIH funding applicants, all challenge participants can receive NIH assistance in developing applications to compete for other NIH funding opportunities.