I got the opportunity to interview Byron Meyers,who helped invent the Inogen machine. He gave us an inside look on how the machine works and how it was invented. Inogen O2 machine has became a huge part of my life. Zanna, my inogen, goes everywhere with me and has made mine and thousands of other people’s life’s better. Since Inogen has helped improve my life, I wanted to share how Inogen came to be. I hope you all find this as interesting as I did and if you have an Inogen, then now you know how it all came to be.
Q: What inspired you to create Inogen?
A: Inogen was inspired by a beloved grandmother, Mae. Mae was prescribed oxygen therapy and received a large stationary concentrator and portable oxygen tanks. Immediately her life changed as she was constantly worried about running out of oxygen. She found that she was living life looking at her watch wondering how many minutes left of oxygen she had in her tanks. She had loved to travel, take cruises, and go to plays, but she wasn’t able to do any of these activities any more. Ali, Brenton, and I felt that the ideal solution to this problem was to create a concentrator that made its own oxygen, like her large in-home version, but small and lightweight enough that she could take it with her wherever she went. Mae inspired us to create the Inogen One – one solution for oxygen at home, away, and for travel. You can read more about Mae’s story here: https://www.inogen.com/about-inogen/meet-mae/
Q: How long did it take to make the first Inogen one? Was it a lot of trial and error?
A:We started the company in 2001 and we gave Mae the first Inogen One in 2004. Rather than try to miniaturize existing technology, we took a fresh approach and started from scratch. From the beginning, we designed the Inogen One to be a single solution for all modes of use that could function 24/7 and keep up with the demands of daily life. We weren’t constrained by prior thinking or by the way oxygen products had been designed in the past. This allowed us to deliver the first Inogen One at 10 pounds versus the standard concentrators of the day weighing 40-50 pounds. Now we’re at 2.8 pounds with our latest product, the Inogen One G4.
Q: Did you ever expect it to be this well known?
A: We never could have imagined that we’d able to help as many people as we have. Our first goal was to give Mae a better life and now we aim to help the millions of oxygen users like Mae worldwide reclaim their freedom and independence.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The most rewarding part of the job is seeing firsthand how we’ve been able to help people. We get letters, photos, and videos from our customers telling us that we’ve changed their lives. We have people tell us about meeting their grandkids for the first time, being able to go to school, taking a trip they thought they would never be able to take, or just enjoying everyday life free from the burden of running out of oxygen in a tank. We are continually inspired by these stories of achievement and they fuel us to keep working hard on our mission to deliver freedom and independence. You can take a look at some of our testimonials here: https://www.inogen.com/oxygen-therapy/customer-stories/
Q: How does the Inogen machine work?
A: Inogen products take in room air and separate out the nitrogen through a molecular sieve material under pressure. The oxygen and other trace gases are delivered to the patient at 90% +6%/-3% oxygen purity, just like standard home oxygen concentrators. One large difference between the Inogen One and standard home concentrators in regard to functionality is that the Inogen One delivers oxygen on a pulse basis. Our pulse functionality, which we call Intelligent Delivery Technology®, senses a breath and delivers a bolus of oxygen so that oxygen is not wasted during exhalation. Intelligent Delivery Technology ensures oxygen therapy is delivered efficiently and effectively in all modes of use. In fact, the Inogen One’s oxygen delivery systems are clinically validated to provide the necessary oxygen for most ambulatory patients during all phases of daily activity and during sleep (RespirCare March 2006:51(3):252-256; and CHEST 1999 Vol.116(1):22-29). You can compare various types of oxygen equipment here: https://www.inogen.com/oxygen-therapy/portable-oxygen-concentrators-better-breathing/ and read more about our Intelligent Delivery Technology here: https://www.inogen.com/oxygen-therapy/intelligent-technology-delivery/
Q: What are your future plans for Inogen?
A: Our core focus is to continue to help as many oxygen therapy users as possible by increasing their freedom and independence through our innovative products and services.
I’m so thankful to Ali, Brenton, and Byron for inventing the Inogen machine. It’s amazing how they did it to improve one person’s life and ended up helping thousands of others. These people are able to travel to see loved ones, vacation, go to concerts, and go shopping all day without worrying about running out of air as fast or having to take multiple tanks. If don’t have an Inogen and would like more information about it, you can check these videos: about the company, and background information on Inogen. You can also check out the Inogen Facebook page, Instagram, and their website to see which machine would fit your lifestyle best. And you can read more about the founders here. And if you want to see Zanna, my Inogen, in action you can follow my Instagram. Zanna has given me so much freedom. Having oxygen can make you feel limited, but with an Inogen, you can live life with no limits.