National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Turns to the Crowd for More Options in Supplemental Oxygen Technology

BETHESDA, Md., June 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — HeroX, the social network for innovation and the world’s leading platform for crowdsourced solutions, today launched the crowdsourcing competition the "Air You Wear Challenge" on behalf of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Challenge seeks to develop more portable, easy-to-use options for outpatients on supplemental oxygen.

Over 1.5 million Americans are prescribed supplemental oxygen for a range of medical conditions. Yet current options for the use of home oxygen do not fully address the needs of people who rely on this resource. When asked, patients on supplemental oxygen consistently express the following wishes: having the oxygen supply be lighter and more portable, making it last longer, and ensuring the "flow rate" is readily available.

"The demographic of those needing supplemental oxygen is much broader than many people may think," said Josh Fessel, MD, PhD, Program Director at the NHLBI. "People using home oxygen can be any age. They might need long-term supplemental oxygen because they’re living with chronic lung disease, a heart condition, or sleep-related breathing issues. Or, they might only need it temporarily because they’re recovering from an acute illness, a blood clot in the lung. We want to help these 1.5 million Americans live their best life."

At a time in history when breathing has never been more in focus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NHLBI and HeroX hope innovators will feel motivated to team up to make a big difference in people’s lives.

"This is the perfect opportunity to tap the global network to solve a problem that affects so many people," said Christian Cotichini, CEO, HeroX. "The options currently on the market don’t live up to our innovative capacity: oxygen cylinders are heavy and cumbersome, and oxygen concentrators have limited battery life, precluding some patients from being able to use them. So many people stand to gain from advancements in this area, and it is ripe for innovation. And that is our problem-solvers’ specialty."

The Challenge: 
The two-phase challenge will award a total prize purse of $500,000.

In Phase 1, up to eight teams proposing the most compelling and impactful solutions will each receive up to $50,000 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 teams will be awarded first, second and third prizes of $60,000, $30,000 and $10,000 respectively for the best prototypes/demonstrations.

Teams are invited to submit their proposals to the website below.

Eligibility to Compete and Win Prizes:
The challenge is open to anyone aged 18 or older. Individual participants must be US citizens or permanent residents. International applicants can participate on a team with a US team lead. Some restrictions apply.

To accept the challenge, and for more information, visit

HeroX is a social network for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist, Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that supports anyone, anywhere, to solve everyday business and world challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as the Social Network for Innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and curate your very own crowd.

Explore the latest challenges at

Media Contact:
Alexandra Pony


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