TU Delft students share ventilator design for international use
In a very short period of time, students involved in OperationAIR have successfully developed an emergency ventilator for coronavirus patients. Following the necessary test procedures, the design of the AIRone – including all related documentation – has now been released online so that other countries and initiatives can also benefit from it.
The OperationAIR initiative was launched on 16 March led by Professor Jaap Harlaar, Director of Studies at Clinical Technology. Fifty TU Delft students have spent the past seven weeks developing an emergency ventilator for coronavirus patients. In just three weeks, the team was able to put together a working prototype based on the requirements for providing adequate ventilation for coronavirus patients.
The AIRone has undergone several tests in recent weeks, including functional tests, mechanical safety tests, electrical safety tests, user tests and design tests. Marijn Mostert, head of the testing team, explains: “We have run tests to see whether the margins of error for the set variables fall within the prescribed standards, whether the AIRone meets the electrical safety requirements and whether the device is stable and robust. We have also carried out user tests with several intensive care practitioners, technical physicians and an ICU nurse.” The tests primarily focused on ease of use, safety and applicability. The users indicated that they would use the AIRone in emergency situations in which there is a shortage of regular equipment. The manual was also reviewed to make sure that it is understandable, and the design was checked against hospital standards. “We were able to make a few adjustments to the AIRone based on the test findings. We now have a final design, which, along with the test results and other documentation, is now available on an open-source platform so that other initiatives can start using the AIRone as well,” says Marijn.
OperationAIR is still in discussion with DEKRA, an official certification body, regarding the assessment of the technical documentation and the risk management system. DEKRA is preparing a report with recommendations on the use and safety of the AIRone.
In the Netherlands, the number of ICU admissions, and therefore the need for ventilators, has decreased considerably. Initially, the students had set themselves the target of producing 500 emergency ventilators for the Netherlands in order to alleviate the anticipated shortages. Josephine Dumas, head of the realisation team, explains that this is no longer necessary: “Given the downward trend, and after consulting the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), we do not expect that this volume of ventilators will be required in the Netherlands at this stage. We are therefore focusing on the production of 80 devices. This will allow us to work through all stages of the production process, so that we are fully prepared to restart production if there are shortages in the future. Going through the entire process is also crucial for the internationalisation of the AIRone, so that we can give sound advice to other initiatives.”
Since the situation in the Netherlands has become less acute, OperationAIR will focus on sharing the knowledge they have acquired with the rest of the world. By publishing their design, the students want to help other countries which are still in urgent need of ventilators. Max Ligtenberg, head of the internationalisation team: “Over the past few weeks, we have received a lot of questions from initiatives abroad. We have been asked whether we are going to produce for other countries as well and whether we are willing to share our design and approach.” There is high demand for ventilators abroad, both in European countries and countries in Africa, Asia and Central America. That is why the students have decided not only to share our documentation, but also to actively support initiatives that ask for assistance. Max: “By sharing our design, being ready to answer questions about the development, production and implementation of the AIRone and offering support, we hope to be in a good position to help other countries cope with a shortage of ventilators.”
OperationAIR is part of Air for All, an umbrella initiative of TU Delft that consists of three projects, each devoted to developing a different type of ventilator. This group consists of Project Inspiration, BTB - Breathe and OperationAIR. Their broader portfolio enables them to work together to address the global shortage of ventilators. More information can be found at https://tudelft-bmech-coronavirus.nl/.
More information about OperationAIR can be found at www.operationair.org.
The AIRone design and related documentation can be found at https://osf.io/mn7xq/.