Hi, I'm Larry Shaw, the inventor of the Dual Band chin strap. (That is me in steps #1 and #2 of the putting-on process shown on the homepage.) I suffered from sleep apnea for years, but could not get accustomed to using a CPAP machine. One night I decided to film myself sleeping while wearing a blood-oxygen monitor and realized that my apneas were due to open mouth breathing.
I tried a variety of off-the-shelf methods for maintaining a closed mouth, including mouth tape, cervical collars, and chin straps. But mouth tapes came loose after a few hours, cervical collars pushed my head back to an uncomfortable degree, and traditional neoprene chin straps forced my jaw into the jaw joint causing joint pain. So I began experimenting. I constructed mouth tapes of different geometries from band-aids, and crafted or customized a number of cervical collars. But the most fruitful experiments involved chin straps.
Applying my knowledge of physics (I have a PhD in physics), I realized that standard neoprene chin straps, because they wrap around the tip of the chin and push towards the point on the head farthest from the tip of the chin, push the jaw almost directly into the jaw joint and therefore produce almost no useful “torque” on the jaw. This means that the majority of the force applied by standard neoprene chin straps is ineffective in keeping the jaw closed and only contributes to discomfort, and can possibly even damage the jaw joint.
Prototyping first using baseball caps, I endeavored to create a chin strap that would produce a more vertical force so as to work with the natural rotation of the jaw. I soon realized that a cap which extends lower at the back of the head is necessary to prevent the vertical force of the strap from rotating the device forward and loosening the lift provided by the strap. The next series of prototypes were made using knit caps. Upon experimenting with straps of a variety of elasticities, I realized that the best features of highly elastic straps and less elastic straps could be obtained by using two straps, one elastic and one non-elastic. Furthermore, using both an elastic strap and a non-elastic strap allows the force to be a non-linear function of jaw-gap distance and this, compounded with the more vertical lift, allows the strap pressure to be made very small while still being effective at keeping the jaw closed.
After eight months of testing and dozens of tweaks and refinements, I felt he had optimized the basic design for comfort and effectiveness. And tests with the blood-oxygen monitor while filming myself confirmed that with his mouth closed during sleep, my apneas were reduced to nearly zero per hour. Feeling that the basic design was already superior to any other chin strap available, I began investigating the production of a commercial version.
Since I also run New Toy Classics, a company which manufactures and markets the fair trade toy Astrojax, I already had infrastructure and a team of dedicated and reliable employees in Guatemala, including vice president Edwin Manzoni, director of operations Rosy Manzoni, master tailor Jose Xon, tailor Julio Yaxon and tailor Ruth Garcia. My team and I eventually settled on the current 6 fabrics/25 stitching operations design.
We began shipping the Knightsbridge DUAL BAND chin strap in late Fall of 2019 and are thrilled the feedback has been so positive. Our customers find it effectively reduces snoring caused by mouth breathing and prevents mouth leaks when used with nasal pillow CPAP masks. Sleep is vital to health and this chin strap is improving people's lives! We hope that as word spreads of the effectiveness and comfort of this revolutionary new design of chin strap, we can provide many more people with a great night’s sleep.