By Samantha Day • 25 March 2020 • 20:14
ITALIAN engineer uses an incredible hack, turning scuba masks into ventilators saving lives.
Doctors around the world are terrified of running out of ventilators needed to treat the sickest of Covid-19 patients as many people are admitted to hospital for critical care.
Italian engineers are turning scuba diving masks into ventilators to help hospitals battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Start-up Italian 3D printer business Isinnova has already helped a hospital print replacement ventilator valves.
But now the firm has started making a 3D printed adapter capable of converting a snorkelling mask into a functional C-PAP mask for oxygen therapy which is critical to help people with severe cases of Covid-19.
It comes as the number of coronavirus deaths in Italy rose to 6,077 with 63,927 confirmed cases.
According to reports, doctors in Italy have been told to save ventilators for the under-60’s due to a major shortage.
Gardone Valtrompia Hospital head physician Renato Favero came up with the scuba mask idea and contacted the team at Isinnova, according to a blog post.
The team then contacted sports chain Decathlon to see if they could use their ‘Easybreath’ snorkelling mask in the project and Decathlon was ‘immediately willing to cooperate.’
‘Doctor Favero shared with us an idea to fix the possible shortage of hospital C-PAP masks for sub-intensive therapy, which is emerging as a concrete problem linked to the spread of Covid-19,’ reads the post.
‘It’s the construction of an emergency ventilator mask, realised by adjusting a snorkelling mask already available on the market.’
A 3D printed prototype was tested on hospital staff and ‘proven to be correctly working’ before it was used for the first time successfully on a patient in need.
However, the inventors say that their new invention should only be used in emergency situations.
It said: “We are reiterating that the idea is designed for healthcare facilities and wants to help in realisation of an emergency mask in the case of a full-blown difficult situation, where it is not possible to find official healthcare supplies. Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need.”
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