The University of Texas at Austin’s Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering proudly announces the participation of Dr. Tanya Hutter, Assistant Professor, along with her graduate student, Nirmalay Barua, and TEXVMS mentor Rolly Willis, in the esteemed National Science Foundation’s National I-CorpsTM program. Together, they form the RespireCoach team, a pioneering force dedicated to transforming respiratory health through cutting-edge technology.

RespireCoach aims to revolutionize the respiratory health market by developing an accessible and comprehensive solution to address current device limitations. Their state-of-the-art device incorporates advanced sensors and user-friendly design, with interactive training capabilities. Unlike existing alternatives, RespireCoach’s innovative technology accommodates both nasal and oral breathing, offering users a holistic approach to optimizing their respiratory well-being.

The commercial applications of RespireCoach’s breakthrough technology are substantial. Sedentary lifestyles have contributed to a global decline in cardiopulmonary health, increasing the risk of heart disease, chronic respiratory conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), and systemic infections. RespireCoach’s device offers a solution to these challenges, presenting an opportunity to improve the well-being of individuals worldwide.

Moreover, the device shows potential for aiding in the recovery process after respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and COVID-19. Additionally, it can enhance athletic performance for fitness enthusiasts through targeted respiratory training. By promoting respiratory health and facilitating longer, healthier lives, RespireCoach’s technology holds great promise for the general population.

“This selection for the National I-Corps program is a testament to our team’s commitment and expertise,” states Dr. Hutter. “We are thrilled to leverage this opportunity to advance our research and make meaningful contributions to the field of respiratory health.”

“Our participation in the National I-Corps program serves as a significant milestone in our journey,” adds Barua, graduate student and RespireCoach team member. “We are immensely grateful for the chance to create a substantial impact in the realm of respiratory health.”

As part of the National I-Corps program, the RespireCoach team is actively seeking individuals to participate in interviews during the customer discovery phase. If you are interested in contributing to the advancement of respiratory health and playing a vital role in this research, please contact Dr. Hutter at

The University of Texas at Austin’s Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering proudly supports the remarkable work of Dr. Hutter, Nirmalay Barua, and their mentor Rolly Willis. Their participation in the National I-Corps program underscores UT Austin’s commitment and dedication to improving lives through technological innovation.

Learn more about the NSF I-Corps program and apply for the next cohort online here – It only takes 5 minutes to apply and it is free. For more information and to learn more about the NSF I-Corps program, contact Weston Waldo at

Posted by The University of Texas at Austin on July 19, 2023.