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The Ventilators Made From Diving Masks In Italy

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

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    Italian engineers are making ventilators out of diving masks and fitting them with 3D-printed respiratory valves in an inventive plan to keep hospitals supplied at the height of the coronavirus crisis.

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    A Brescia-based startup firm has offered the contraptions for free to local hospitals in the region of Lombardy which is at the centre of Europe's worst virus outbreak.

    The crucial part of the equipment is the 3D-printed 'Venturi valve', a device named after 18th-century physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi which connects the mask to an oxygen tube.

    The company is gearing up to make 100 of the chess piece-like valves per day and hand them out to medics who are trying to bring the crisis under control.

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    Engineer Alessandro Romaioli wears a diving mask which has been modified with a respiratory valve - meaning it can be used as a respiratory mask to help coronavirus patients

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    Four of the respiratory valves are displayed in Brescia today. The so-called 'Venturi valve is named after 18th-century physicist Giovanni Battista Venturi and connects the mask to an oxygen tube

    Cristian Fracassi, the founder of the startup firm Isinnova, offered his company's services after hearing about the valve shortage by word of mouth.

    'We were told the hospital was desperately looking for more valves. They're called Venturi valves and are impossible to find at the moment, production can't keep up with demand,' said Fracassi, 36.

    The valves connect oxygen masks to respirators used by coronavirus patients suffering from respiratory complication.

    Respiratory problems are among the most severe symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus which has killed more than 5,400 people in Italy.

    But some patients have had to be treated in makeshift hospital conditions as virus cases pile up, prompting a desperate appeal for more equipment.

    The local hospital to Fracassi's firm is in Chiari, near Brescia, a prosperous northern city now in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Fracassi and his team were able to replicate the valves using a 3D printer at Isinnova's headquarters in Brescia.

    'When we heard about the shortage, we got in touch with the hospital immediately. We printed some prototypes, the hospital tested them and told us they worked,' Fracassi said.

    'So we printed 100 valves and I delivered them personally.'

    Although specialist masks and ventilators are in short supply, engineers hope to combine the valves with more plentiful equipment such as snorkelling gear and gas masks.

    Fracassi said he did not meet a single car as he drove through the streets, an eerie sensation caused by the transport ban in place. At least 10 patients were using equipment containing the valves by the evening.

    He said it cost next to nothing to produce the valves, which weigh around 0.7 ounces (20 grams) each and are made of plastic.

    'I'm not going to charge the hospital ... It was the least I could do to help doctors and nurses who work all day long to save human lives,' he said.

    The company’s usual products range from hi-tech luggage for fashion brand Gucci to a special paint it is currently developing to survive temperatures of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (1,000C).

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    Two of the diving masks and some of the ventilator valves, showing how they can be fitted together to make a respirator

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