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Italian Engineers Develop Brilliant Hack That Turns Scuba Gear Into Ventilator Masks

Italian Engineers Develop Brilliant Hack That Turns Scuba Gear Into Ventilator Masks

Chiari Hospital tested the first fully-working prototype at their facility and after its success, 100 more valves were printed by the engineers.

Image Source: Reddit

Italian engineers at Isinnova, a 3-D printing company, have successfully created a prototype for a 3-D printed valve that converts scuba equipment into ventilator masks. A doctor in north Italy contacted engineers Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli with the idea of creating masks from scuba gears to combat the shortage of ventilator masks. The engineers developed the 3-D prototype in just three hours. Italy is the country that’s been the second hardest-hit by this global crisis and is facing shortages of hospital beds and necessary equipment. The lack of adequate medical equipment is one of the major issues faced by medical officials in treating COVID-19, with ventilators being one of the most important tools.



 

Ventilators can be the bridge between life and death. This shortage of essential equipment for treating Coronavirus patients is forcing doctors to arbitrate whom to treat. "A ventilator is a fairly fancy piece of technological equipment which is designed to breathe for somebody who is unable to breathe effectively on their own," said David Hill, a pulmonologist who sits on the board of the American Lung Association, to PBS. Many severe cases of COVID-19 were reported where the patient's lungs got inflamed and filled with fluid, making it difficult for them to breathe and oxygenate their blood. "We had never made valves before, but we wanted to help," said the engineers, according to The Independent.



 

The pair reached out to French sporting goods retailer Decathlon with the prototype of their design, to see if they could use the Subsea Easybreath snorkeling mask for the project. The company was "immediately willing to cooperate." Chiari Hospital tested the first fully-working prototype at their facility and after its success, 100 more valves were printed by the engineers. While the engineers quickly patented the valve, they also made the 3-D printing files freely available so anyone with a printer can produce them during the crisis. "We clarify that our initiative is totally non-profit, we will not obtain any royalties on the idea of the link, nor on the sales of Decathlon masks," the engineers said.

Source: Reddit

The valves only cost about one American dollar to make. Though the engineers are proud of their success, they add that this is nothing but a makeshift solution. "We are reiterating that the idea is designed for healthcare facilities and wants to help in realization of an emergency mask in the case of a full-blown difficult situation, where it is not possible to in find official healthcare supplies," the engineers said.  "Neither the mask nor the link is certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need," they continued. "Usage by the patient is subjected to the acceptance of the use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration." 

Source: Decathlon

Disclaimer: Information about COVID-19 is swiftly changing, and McGill is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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