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New invention to help asthmatics

By Julie Clothier for CNN

The "Thinhaler" is just 6mm thick and can fit into a wallet, unlike the bulky asthma inhalers currently available.
Do you suffer from asthma?

LONDON, England (CNN) -- A 22-year-old design graduate has invented a gadget that could make asthmatics' lives a lot easier.

Frustrated after seeing his asthmatic friend struggle to breathe in smoky bars, Adam Bates decided to design a wallet-sized inhaler.

The Brunel University industrial design and technology graduate, from Oxfordshire, England, is currently in talks with two pharmaceutical companies who want to make the "Thinhaler" a commercial success.

Bates, who suffers from mild asthma himself, said inspiration for the 6mm-thick Thinhaler came from an asthmatic friend, who would leave her asthma in haler at home if it would not fit in her bag or she would complain about having to take a bag out with her because her inhaler was too bulky.

"I would watch her have to go outside every half hour for fresh air if we were in a smoky bar," he says.

"When I'm designing things, I always think about how I can make people's lives easier. When I use things myself I get frustrated if they are difficult to work and think about how can I make things better."

Asthma affects 5.1 million people in the UK and a large percentage of sufferers should carry an inhaler with them at all times.

Bates' design can fit into a wallet, in the slots normally designed for credit cards.

Bates says the Thinhaler will not be any more expensive than those already on the market, and could cost as little as £2-3.

It uses dry-powder medication, which is used by some inhalers currently on the market, and lasts for 50 to 100 doses.

Most inhalers on the market can be used for 100 to 200 doses but Bates says he has had feedback that the smaller doses of the Thinhaler are outweighed by its other benefits.

Since graduating in June, Bates has been working full-time on making the design become a reality.

He has also secured a job at Dyson, the company famous for its clever vacuum cleaner, where he will be a design engineer.

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