No teenager has ever felt like James Dean when taking a puff from their inhaler. While incredibly important, the lifesaving devices have long been viewed as a sign of weakness, an accessory of the lesser abled. One reason? They look drab and distinctly uncool. This was the problem a recent design challenge put on by Creative Design looked to solve. The company put out a call for designers to make an aesthetic upgrade to the inhaler. And of the resulting models, the Hue Inhaler, makes the standard look like a rad accessory any kid would be happy to hook to a keychain and carry around.
According to its creator, Tim Zarki, the Hue Inhaler is “meant to make a bold statement instead of being of a source of self-consciousness” about asthma. Each inhaler comes with a wide array of vibrant colors, from orange to neon green, and in much sleeker design than its predecessor. The 3D printed devices can be customized for transparency and rigidity to make them fit the user’s desires. Finally, it comes complete with a counter to keep track of the number of dosages remaining.
While the health benefits of inhalers are obvious, its larger social stigmas often deter kids from using them. On screens, kids who use inhalers are often depicted as wheezing, sickly kids with social disorders. In fact, a study done by the International Journal for the Analysis of Health showed that Hollywood has often reinforced the stigma of inhalers being a sign of weakness. After viewing and analyzing 66 movies containing scenes showing asthma, the study concluded children were adversely affected by Hollywood’s negative portrayal of asthma. Another study conducted by Asthma UK found that many teenagers felt embarrassed by inhalers because of the stigma enforced by film and television stereotypes.
Will something like the Hue prevent this? But it might help kids feel a bit more comfortable carrying an inhaler. Right now, however, the Hue is merely in the conceptual phase. Here’s hoping it gets the okay.