Lung Flute Won’t Play Music, But Will Help You Stop Coughing

Inventor Sandy Hawkins

Got phlegm?  Stop coughing like an excited dog all day long with the Lung Flute, a $40 medical device that vibrates your lungs to free gobs of that sticky stuff loose.

Imagining how it works sound gross (a mental picture of all that mucus just ain't so peachy).  To patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), however, it could be the cheapest way to experience relief.   Simply blow into the toy-like apparatus, wait till it works its magic and hock your way to open airways.   Aaaah.

Able to work with no electronics, the Lung Flute consists of a horn-like tube (actually, it looks like something you'll use in place of rolling paper), with a reed-thin slab of plastic.  The sheet sends a vibration to your chest that equals sound waves at 16 hertz, shaking up the mucus to help dislodge it.

Across medical laboratories and clinics in various countries, the single-patient machine is currently used as a disposable tool to collect phlegm for testing.  In Japan, it's standard fare in tuberculosis clinics; in Canada and Europe, it's the stock implement for drawing sputum from suspected lung cancer patients.

The Lung Flute has recently been approved by the FDA in the US for diagnostic use.  There's also a good chance it will be available for home use soon (with a doctor's prescription).  Simply put, you may not have to rely on coughing vigorously or downing cough medication to free up all that lung mucus in the future.  Just make sure to get rid of it as soon as you feel better.  Your pothead pals might end up catching what you had when they use it to burn up their stash.

[Medical Acoustics via PopSci]