engineers use 3D printing hack to turn scuba masks into ventilators
sporting goods retailer decathlon is contributing to the fight against coronavirus by sending makeshift ventilators to hospitals in northern italy. the company has converted its line of snorkelling masks with the help of engineers from an italian research institute who used a 3D printing hack to transform the equipment.
the ventilators were developed with the help of engineers from the institute of studies for the integration of systems (ISINNOVA) in rome. the project was prompted by a request from the head physician of a hospital in gardone val trompina in the italian region of lombardy, one of the regions hit worst by the coronavirus, to address the ventilator shortage.
cristian fracassi and alessandro romaioli, engineers at ISINNOVA, had the idea of making masks out of decathlon‘s scuba equipment and in three hours, created a prototype for a 3D printed valve that successfully converted the gear into a ventilator mask. the pair then uploaded the means of converting the masks online, creating a video detailing the process which you can see above. it shows how other hospitals with access to a printer could make such a mask themselves.
in severe cases of COVID-19 a patient’s lungs become inflamed and filled with fluid which makes it difficult for them to breathe. in these cases a ventilator could mean the difference between life and death.
image courtesy of riardomasutti/twitter