3D-printing is bringing new tricks to the coronavirus crisis.
Days ago an Italian business 3D-printed replacement valves for ventilators, sorely needed by hospitals globally — and now the company has invented 3D-printed adapters to turn snorkels into C-PAP oxygen masks, according to 3D printing Media Network.
3D-printing gets tricky
Roughly a week ago, a local 3D printer business helped a hospital flooded with coronavirus patients supplement its replacement valves.
But the company behind the valves — called Isinnova — has completed yet another crafty invention designed to meet the unique demands of the coronavirus pandemic: a 3D printed adapter capable of converting a snorkeling mask into a functional C-PAP mask for oxygen therapy — critical for the recovery of people with severe cases of COVID-19.
DIY oxygen mask for severe COVID-19 cases
As it happens, the "Easybreath" snorkel-maker Decathlon "was immediately willing to cooperate," said Isinnova, reports Futurism. The company's 3D printed prototype was "proven to be correctly working," and hospital staff was "enthusiastic about the idea."
It's not hard to understand what a snorkeling mask does, but this brand's masks cover one's entire face, providing swimmers an unobstructed view of their underwater environment. The bottom portion of the device channels into a slim "snorkel" that cruises along, just above the surface of the water.
While the new snorkel-based mask has worked so far, Isinnova isn't going to put it into production immediately. "Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need," said the 3D printing business. Patients still have to sign a legal declaration to authorize the use of an uncertified device in their care.
Consequently, the Italian inventors stress that their new invention should only be used in emergency situations (quickly becoming the new normal in hospitals globally).
Regardless, Isinnova patented the link valve (Charlotte Valve) to freeze any speculation on the component's price. "The patent will remain free to use because it is in our intention that all hospitals in need could use it if necessary," said Isinnova, according to 3D Printing Media. As the coronavirus infections accelerate globally, it's up to engineers and innovators to find new ways to close the gaps left by our overtaxed industrial and economic forces.