I arrived at Bespoke Medical during April 2017 as the Director of Strategy and Innovation. Having immersed myself for 24 years in the sleep and respiratory medical device industry, and previously as ResMed’s Chief of Technology and chief engineer in CPAP mask interfaces for nearly all those years, I’ve always appreciated custom masks were a plausible concept, since the first ever CPAP masks were custom made as well. However early masks in 1981 were merely hand-crafted, and then literally glued together and then glued to the patient’s face at night. Effective, but hardly comfortable and certainly not a scalable solution.
Mirroring a face by simply electronically scanning and then 3D printing a mask may sound revolutionary to some, however in the whole scheme of things is out of date schooling and does not necessarily provide a successful comfortable mask seal. Intelligent 3D conversion needs to take place and that’s where ApneaSeal’s experienced “sleep scientists” play the heaviest role. The solution also needs to be scalable and affordable.
For example, one of the greatest innovations of ApneaSeal has been achieved by solving a significant design contradiction. How do you develop a structurally-stable mask cushion to provide seal stability however make it touch the face lighter than some of the softest materials available such as silicone rubber?
By understanding the unique dynamics that occur between a patient’s anatomy and an intelligently converted 3D facial form, the ApneaSeal mask can maintain an exceptionally light touch against the face all night long despite treatment pressure changes whilst the mask interface being significantly rigid. Virtually every patient comments how much more comfortable the mask is compared to initial expectations and their previous masks. Quite frankly, I was surprised myself when I had a test mask made for me.
As someone who has existed for many years in the business chasing patient compliance and earning customer loyalty, I still get a positive buzz seeing patients achieve mask fit success after trying “everything”, including some of the traditional masks that I helped design years ago.