Kieran Kay

Award made: November 2019

Kieran Kay, 5th year MEng Product Design Engineering

Kieran was awarded £500 in support of his final year MEng project at the Glasgow School of Art and the University of Glasgow to develop a device to improve directly the breathing during training of athletes involved in cyclical motion sports, primarily cycling and rowing .

Devices already exist to strengthen the lungs outside the activity in the hope that improvements will be translated to the in-sport performance. However research is limited and they are obstructive, relying on airway ventilatory measurements. Through Kieran’s research he has identified a technology called respiratory inductive plethysmography (RIP) which uses bands around the thorax and abdomen to measure ventilatory rate and volume without obstructing the airway. His project is to develop a device that monitors this information and then uses a timed stimulus to remind users when and how deeply to breathe during training, based on the optimum moment to do so. There is limited research into whether a stimulus can improve performance through better ventilatory function, so the project is as much a lab based physiology project as it is a design engineering product development project.

The award will be spent directly on prototyping, both for an aesthetically accurate production representation and for a proof of technical concept prototype. The technology involved in respiratory inductive plethysmography is costly and with the purchase of such equipment, Kieran hopes to develop a device for testing in a laboratory setting. Kieran has been offered the chance to do so through Glasgow University’s sports science department, to gain quantifiable data to add justification to my design.