University Students Create Innovative and Inexpensive Portable Ventilator in Greece

Giorgos Patou (left) and Sotiris Kalaitzakis. Photo credit: Facebook/George Patou

Two students in Crete have designed a fully-functional ventilator in their home — and printed it in 3D — adding another weapon to the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Sotiris Kalaitzakis and Giorgos Patou, students at the Hellenic Mediterranean University, based in Heraklion, Crete, have designed a respirator that costs only 70 to 80 euros to make, while pharmaceutical companies can charge hundreds or even thousands of euros for such devices.

The two students have already made contact with a nursing school in order to make the necessary tests on a human model and ensure the smooth operation of the device.

Their version of a fully printable mechanical medical respirator took only three weeks to design and build on a 3D printer, while testing the prototype provided 48 hours of smooth and stable operation.

The machine measures 210 x 180 x 220 mm (8 X 7 X 8.6 inches) and a 12-volt battery is included, making the device fully portable and ideal for patient transportation.

The goal is to provide desperately-needed assistance to hospitals, since there is a serious shortage of available medical respirators since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis.

“We wanted to create a large stock of portable and inexpensive breathing machines that can be easily printed and used,” the two students told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

“From the calipers and the AMBU airbag to the valves, all the parts can be printed by a 3D printer that uses biocompatible PLA (polylactic acid) and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), without the help of additional supports. No screws are needed as the components are held in place by bundles. The device supports a 2000ml AMBU airbag.”

According to Kalaitzakis and Patou, the user has the ability to control the volume of air delivered to the patient, as well as the number of breaths per second and the ratio of inhalation to exhalation.

The next version, the inventors say, will include the ability to control airflow and pressure, as well as peak pressure and peak width for AC and PEEP applications.