“Every Breath I Take”


Hope everyone had a good Fourth of July and weekend. My hotdog count for the whole week was 3, compared to Joey Chesnut’s 62 this year… even with the dry buns.
But don’t worry, I did still find myself looking like this at times.

Since we’ve seen many athletes renegotiating contracts and getting paid more, maybe it’s time for Joey to do the same, since the purse for winning the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is only $10,000.
But enough of that.

Am I in Denver, Or Do I Have Chronic Disease?

Today we’re going to talk about oxygen, which is obviously critical to everyone here, so read up.
Oxygen is important, I don’t have to sell you on that. It’s pumped to the muscles to provide energy, the brain so we don’t all go insane, and is one of the main things needed to sustain life.
When you have enough of it, everything operates normally. When you don’t, you become more fatigued, out of breath, and in extreme cases can damage your organs (hypoxia).
Your blood oxygen levels are mainly measured using a pulse oximeter, which will shoot out a number over 95% if you’re healthy. Anything below that and you’re in trouble.
And trouble usually arises in two scenarios, high altitudes, which is why you see a lot of athletes using supplemental oxygen sources.

And chronically ill, old people (think COPD).

A lot of Olympians will actually train at higher altitudes, adjusting their bodies to extreme exercise with less oxygen, so that come time for the competition they can perform better.
But we all know that. What you don’t know is that the supplemental oxygen industry has been failing to catch up.

These Things Are Ugly And Suck To Carry Around

COPD affects 12.5 million Americans, which means that nearly all of us have a family member or friend that need to drag an oxygen tank around.

I don’t know about you, but I find these things extremely ugly. The only thing uglier than rolling this around, is rolling one of these around.

The only difference between the two is that one is essential for keeping you alive, while the other creates a superiority complex in the airport.

I’ll Get To The Point Now

Besides the fact that you may look like a balloon hooked up to a helium tank, they just don’t work as well as they could.
Are they lifesaving/sustaining? Absolutely.
Could they be better? Yep.
One problem with most oxygen tanks on the market is that they are always pumping oxygen. The hose that runs to your nose is delivering a constant stream of oxygen, whether you are taking a breath or not. This means that even when you are exhaling, oxygen is being shot into your nose, which leads to about half the tank being wasted on air that’s not even being inhaled.
The other problem with these oxygen tanks, is they’re not adjustable. Often times, people who use an oxygen tank will need to take frequent breaks when doing tasks as simple as walking. And it’s not because they’re tired – well it is because they’re tired, but literally only because they’re not getting enough oxygen to their muscles –  it’s because they can’t easily increase the oxygen flow or the concentration during exercise, needing these frequent breaks for recovery.
The whole tank is controlled from this adapter, which looks like it came straight from the 40’s and functions the same as a hose spigot.

TLDR; current oxygen tanks are like hoses that only has two settings: off and full blast.

So What’s The Solution

The global market for medical oxygen concentrators is $1.75 billion in 2018, and only continues to grow.
I’m surprised that something as critical and widely used as an oxygen tank hasn’t been the subject of any technological innovations.
Besides the obvious facelift that’s needed, some pretty simple tech could make this necessity a lot better.
Here’s how:
  • Sync up the release of oxygen with the inhaling patient. This way you’re not wasting air and the tanks last longer, saving patients money.
  • Make it adaptable. Link this adapter up with someone’s heart rate or blood oxygen levels (could be as simple as pairing with an Apple Watch). When someone’s heart rate increases, or blood oxygen level decreases, pump more air out allowing for bigger, more refilling breaths. That way patients are slowed down or limited by their machine.
But if you can’t do that, then…..

Start An Oxygen Tank Refilling Business

Refilling these tanks can be a bit tedious, especially for those who are chronically ill. Many patients resort to the delivery of new tanks or on-site refill services that come by each week (think refilling a propane tank for your grill).

The refill machines only cost a few thousand dollars, but these companies will charge $50 per refill. So, if you feel so inclined, just buy a machine and start filling. You’ll breakeven after only 50 canisters.

These businesses rake it in, and often control a huge demographic.


Oxygen Support Systems

Have tanks, but need oxygen? Check out Oxygen Support Systems! They offer medical oxygen refills, oxygen therapy, portable oxygen tanks, a variety of other medical needs. I know I said you could start one yourself, but not if you’re on the East Coast because they beat us to the punch. I trust them, which means you can too!

Final Thoughts

We’re seeing the deployment of tech everywhere, but healthcare is almost always overlooked. I find it hard to believe that something with such a large market, that is also so critical, hasn’t been touched yet.

The development of a new device that could help would be pretty rudimentary for someone who’s experienced. And if you’re not experienced, the auxiliary service businesses that exist in this market are also killer.

If all else fails, just plant more trees, and get these people their oxygen.
‘Til Friday.

from, matt

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