The countries like Italy and the US have become the new hot spots for the coronavirus, while China seems to have dealt with the spread of COVID-19 within its borders. And as the number of those infected continues to rise, so does the demand for qualified specialists and necessary equipment.

As hospitals face an overload of Covid-19 patients struggling to breathe, innovative medical staff are turning to snorkeling masks from sports stores to stop their lungs collapsing.

In order to fill this discrepancy, engineers at ISINNOVA have taken a genius step and teamed up with Decathlon and medical experts to convert full-face snorkeling masks into masks that can be hooked up to medical breathing machines that help those infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Engineers of an Italian engineering company named Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaiol of ISINNOVA were approached by Dr. Renato Favero, former head physician at the Gardone Valtrompia Hospital, with an idea to help mitigate the current shortage of C-PAP masks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The hospitals use masks in sub-intensive therapy. Marks are very important at the moment. Since these masks are now in short supply, Dr. Favero suggested modifying readily-available scuba diver masks into masks that can be connected to a ventilating machine. Would it be a piece of good idea?

It wasn’t long until Decathlon, a sporting goods retailer, was included in the project as a producer, and supplier of the Easy-breath snorkeling mask. ISINNOVA quickly got a hold of the CAD designs, studied them, and made the necessary modifications, including the design and 3D printing of the Charlotte and Dave valves—the connecting part between the mask and the breathing machine tubes.

ISINNOVA wrote on their website that the prototype was tested on one of their colleagues inside Chiari Hospital and the test was a win. The hospital itself also tested the device on a patient in need and the new modified ventilation mask passed the test with flying colors. Blueprints were made available for free so that hospitals could make their own on demand in emergencies.

All of the blueprints and instructions made by the engineering company are available online free of charge for hospitals to build and be used based on their need. While C-PAP masks start at around €100, hospitals will be able to buy the Easy-breath snorkeling masks from Decathlon for €25 and 3D print the valves on their own, so it will not only make it easier to solve the mask crisis, but it will also be an inexpensive solution. This setup is estimated to cost around €25, four times less than proper C-PAP masks.

There is a disadvantage too. As full face masks are considered to be dangerous by some snorkeling experts due to the fact that there is a risk of excess carbon dioxide building up inside the mask if improper air outtake is provided, there will still be a problem with having enough ventilators to go around. ISINNOVA stated that the masks should be used if there is no other option as there is no certification for them

ISINNOVA told that neither the mask, nor the link valves are certified and should thus be used only on the basis of absolute necessity. According to the statement on their website, they stress that this idea is designed for healthcare facilities in cases of full-blown difficult situations where it is not possible to find official healthcare supplies.

Only skilled specialists should be allowed to print and assemble these masks. ISINNOVA also patented the valve to prevent any speculation on pricing. All of the instructions and needed files are provided on ISINNOVA’s website.

Image credits: FabFactory Image credits: ISINNOVA



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