Faced with the desperate lack of equipment on the African continent, a group of scientists has manufactured a respiratory assistance machine from a 3D printer. The manufacturing method will be available online.
Respirators are a scarce commodity in Africa – fewer than a hundred have been identified across the continent. Faced with this shortage, a group of academics from the Pan-African network Honoris United Universities designed a Non-invasive Ventilator (NIV) to print in 3D for less than 400 euros each.
A DIY respirator
Without patenting the invention, the scientists will then put the boss in open source. It will therefore suffice to download the software from the Internet, which is accompanied by a manufacturing manual and a complete user manual for individuals or professionals. The raw materials were chosen both for their “reliability” but also for their “ease of access”. The challenge is immense: enabling anyone to make respirators quickly.
Like its manufacture, its use is also composed in the kit mode. A priori, the NIV is presented as a simple washable silicone mask with filter (image 1). To which are added a tube, a venturi which allows to calibrate the flow rate and a cylinder of oxygen (image 2). The complete option finally adds a presser which activates the insufflator tank in the event of motorization of the device (image 3). You can also see a summary of the project in the video below.
This initiative is led by the Tunisian Nidhal Rezg, doctor of industrial automation who teaches at the Polytechnic School of Tunis and at the University of Lorraine, in Metz. Asked by Le Monde Afrique, the initiator of the project said: ” It was thanks to telework and confinement that the idea emerged ” And in a few days, the consortium was set up.
A “simplified version”
Today, two prototypes are in the testing phase. The machines were manufactured by two companies specializing in robotics and industrial design: Level 1 in Tunis and Tech3D in Niderviller, in Moselle. According to the newspaper, the researchers allow themselves another two weeks to work on the 3D printed respirators. They set May 4 as the deadline for obtaining approval from the authorities.
If these respirators are ” simplified versions compared to sophisticated industrial models “It is the urgency of the global situation that prevails, made worse by the shortage of respirators on the African continent. The first machines will be produced by Level 1 and Tech3D then the States will have to print their own.
Sources : Honoris United Universities & Le Monde Afrique