Inhaling a drug in aerosol form is an increasingly common way of treating cancers, AIDS, diabetes, and asthma, reports New Scientist.
However, inhalers are notoriously inefficient because at best they deliver 20 percent of their load into the lungs and at worst, they deliver less than 5 percent.
The rest gets left in the mouth and throat, or gets blown back out into the air, particularly if the user''s intake of breath is not well synchronised with the aerosol jet.
Therefore, Clement Kleinstreuer, a mechanical engineer at North Carolina State University, has developed the smart inhaler that measures air flow around its nozzle to determine the best moment to release a powdered drug to achieve maximum penetration into the lungs.
Kleinstreuer even claims that the new type of inhaler can target specific areas of the lungs with a drug.
This is done by injecting powder into different parts of the airflow, aiming the drug towards the right or left lung or even areas within each lung.
That could make inhalers far more efficient at targeting the conditions they are designed to treat.