By Ben Stark, Contributor
This past weekend, I celebrated my cousin’s first birthday. It was a high-energy event especially after the kids dyed their teeth with bright blue frosting while shoveling down cake and ice cream. My older brother didn’t match their energy. As my cousin, Adeline, began opening presents near the end of the party, my brother’s large frame stretched across the carpet and began to snore.
My brother should be using Soundly, a new mobile app invented by Augsburg alumnus Brian Krohn. The app was developed to reduce snoring. Soundly works by strengthening the muscles in your upper airway. Successful clinical trials at the University of Minnesota show that playing the app’s voice-controlled game fifteen minutes a day resulted in reduced snoring in 35% of adults. How, specifically, the game accomplishes this is a company secret. The technology’s patent is still pending.
Soundly is a new competitor in the anti-snoring industry. Alternatives like chinstraps, nasal strips and nose plugs are uncomfortable pieces of sleeping equipment used to combat chronic snoring. They are not very fun, while Soundly is a game with a purpose. That is why the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health helped fund the application’s development and test its commercial viability. Founder Brian Krohn has a track record of finding new solutions. As an Augsburg undergraduate, he developed a new method for processing biodiesel, created the “Augsburg Honors Review” and started a class on the science of beer-making. After graduating in 2008, Krohn was the first Augsburg student awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at the University of Oxford. He is a great example of one of the many alumni trying new things in the world.
“He was successful at Augsburg because he was entrepreneurial and tried new things,” said Prof. Ben Stottrup.
This Christmas, my brother is signing up to be a Soundly beta tester. Last weekend, his snoring drew a crowd of curious toddlers around him. They could not figure out where the sound was coming from. Finally, I could not resist the temptation every younger brother has. I grazed my finger slowly a quarter inch above his upper lip. We all laughed as he smacked his face, waking himself up. He would probably prefer an alternative to his current anti-snoring technique. If you are interested in learning more about Soundly, check out their website sleep soundly.
This article first appeared in the Friday, November 17, 2017, Edition of The Echo.