Cranfield University COVID ventilator Image supplied by Cranfield University

Makeshift ventilator can serve two patients simultaneously

A simple Bag Valve Mask (BVM) ventilator to help critically-ill COVID-19 patients has been designed at Cranfield University.

The University says that due to the flat-pack design it can be quickly manufactured at scale. Adding that the cost is less than £75 ($100) per unit.

The ventilator can be adjusted and updated as needed. It can be linked to an oxygen generator, positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) valves and filters.

The makeshift ventilator is designed to be used as a temporary or emergency breathing aid for those suffering with COVID-19. It can serve two patients simultaneously with separate, adjustable air flow.

The research team intends to make plans for the device to be available to manufacturers as quickly as possible.

Easy to manufacture and assemble flat-pack design

Professor Leon Williams, head of the Centre for Competitive Creative Design (C4D) at Cranfield University joined forces with Associate Professor Shannon Yee from Georgia Tech to design and build the low-cost and robust makeshift ventilator.

Professor Williams said:

“We focused on creating something that can be mass-produced using water-jet or laser cutting, and modular in design to make it easy to assemble and switch out parts.

“Within five days of getting the brief, an initial design from the Cranfield team was sent to Georgia Tech to test.”

Shannon Yee said:

“We designed the ventilator to be simple to make, cut from sheets of steel. Kits can be assembled and packaged flat for shipping, then reassembled where needed. The manufacturing requires skills that are readily available, and hand tools could even be used.”

A small batch of the devices has already been assembled for testing.