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Innovation, Science and Technology award 2022 winners

In May 2020, engineers and a students from University of Wales Trinity St Davids (UWTSD) decided to focus their expertise on the development of a highly efficient 3D printed jet Venturi based respiratory support system to help the NHS during the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

The main objective was to develop a device that could be manufactured cheaply, rapidly and, at the same time, be user friendly whilst maintaining high performance levels. The device was optimised to be able to perform CPAP functionalities such as maintaining PEEP pressures in scenarios such as overwhelmed hospitals where oxygen supply was limited. We found that standard CPAP devices are extremely inefficient, our device instead could function utilising a 3rd of the oxygen. It’s also very uncommon for Venturi devices to be able to confidently maintain positive pressure within the patient’s airways while delivering correct gas mixtures. This was achieved through numerous iterative steps between modelling and testing.

A Lead Bio–Medical Engineer in Nepal who had then read the news about the Venturi asked if they could share their 3D files for printing in his hospital in Pokhara where the COVID-19 situation was worsening by the minute.

The team responded rapidly setting a license agreement and subsequently transferred all the documentation/technical files and supported the Nepalese engineers with any queries. The device was successfully manufactured with low-end desktop 3d printers and adopted to save lives.