Diving masks are adapted with 3D printing to combat COVID-19


The biggest barrier currently found in the treatment of the current global pandemic of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is the lack of beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in hospitals, which have special respirators, since one of the biggest complications happens in lungs and causes shortness of breath in patients. This triggered the alert in the acquisition of more devices and, while hospitals are not meeting the demand, many volunteers have resorted to the reproduction of these devices from 3D printing.

While many of the efforts on that front have been successful, some of them have run into intellectual property and, well, these companies are vetoing independent production, under threats of prosecutions for copyright infringement – even under criticism from thousands of people. Still, there are initiatives that have been successful, and one of them happens in Italy, the current epicenter of the pandemic.

One of them is that of the Italian startup Isinnova, which has a team of engineers, designers and communication specialists to build projects with the help of technology. “In the past few days, we were contacted by a former chief physician at Gardone Valtrompia Hospital, Dr. Renato Favero, who contacted Isinnova through a doctor at Chiari Hospital, the health center for which we were manufacturing the emergency valves with 3D printing process ”, say the representatives.

“Dr. Favero shared with us an idea to correct the hospital’s shortage of C-PAP masks for sub-intensive therapy, which has emerged as a concrete problem linked to the spread of COVID-19: the construction of an emergency ventilation mask , performed by adjusting a diving mask already available on the market. We analyzed the proposal together with the inventor ”, they explain.

Brand owner gave the green light to production

After this order, Isinnova’s people contacted the Italian manufacturer Decathlon, who invented, produces and supplies Easybreath, equipment used for scorpion diving – the one made in shallow water, which allows the user to use a tube that comes out of the mouth and stays on the surface, for air to enter.

From there, Decathlon gave up the CAD drawing and the product was all disassembled and adapted, so that its structure is compatible with the ventilator of hospital machines. Called “Charlotte Valve”, this new object then went to the 3D printer.

Original diving mask (Image: Press Release / Decathlon)

“The prototype was tested on one of our colleagues directly inside the Chiari Hospital, connected to the ventilator’s body, and proved to be working correctly. The hospital itself was thrilled with the idea and decided to test the device on a needy patient. The test was successful, ”says Isinnova.

Use is authorized only with medical approval

As soon as the experience was successful, Isinnova has already made available a link with the entire open project, so that other companies or people around the world can reproduce this equipment. But it is worth mentioning that the idea was created for health facilities in emergency situations, especially when it is not possible to find official health supplies.

In addition, in order to be used, the adapted mask, which is not considered an official item, needs the approval of medical authorities and the patient himself – and a local check test before being applied, of course. “Neither the mask nor the link is certified and its use is subject to a situation of mandatory need.

Use by the patient is subject to acceptance of the use of a non-certified biomedical device, providing a signed statement. Considering the effectiveness of the project, we urgently decided to patent the connection valve, to avoid any speculation about the price of the component ”, said the creators of Charlotte Valve.

Image: Reproduction / Isinnova

Health agencies that wish to join this project can buy their own Decathlon masks and contact groups of 3D printers to make the material. “We clarify that our initiative is totally non-profit, we will not obtain royalties on the idea of ​​the link, nor on the sales of Decathlon masks”, complements Isinnova.

All additional information, including the download link for the scheme and documentation for subscription, is available on the startup’s website.

Source: Isinnova

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