"the problem is such a massive one"
An Indian student has designed a ventilation system for PPE kits to bring some relief to healthcare workers on the frontline.
PPE kits provide protection for healthcare workers while treating Covid-19 patients.
However, wearing PPE for 12 to 14-hour shifts can cause other issues such as overheating and dehydration.
As a result, Nihaal Singh Adarsh developed a compact ventilation system for PPE kits to help solve the problem.
The 19-year-old student from Mumbai created Cov-Tech, a belt-like wearable ventilation system.
The compact system comes with a lithium-ion battery that lasts for six to eight hours.
Therefore, it can provide some much-needed air and relief for those working on the frontline.
Explaining how his design works, Nihaal, a second-year student at K J Somaiya College of Engineering, said:
“Cov-Tech Ventilation System is like you are sitting under the fan even while you are inside the PPE suit.
“It takes the surrounding air, filters it, and pushes it into the PPE suit.
“Normally, due to lack of ventilation, it is hot and humid within the PPE suit.
“Our solution offers a way out of this uncomfortable experience, by creating a steady airflow inside.”
The Cov-Tech Ventilation System provides the user with a breeze of fresh air in just 100 seconds.
According to Nihaal, his inspiration for the design came from his mother, Dr Poonam Kaur Adarsh, who is a doctor on the frontline.
Her difficulties in treating Covid-19 patients while sweating in PPE led Nihaal to invent Cov-Tech.
Nihaal developed the design for the first model in just 20 days.
Then, after more than six months of work, the initial prototype emerged.
During the designing process, Nihaal received support from Somaiya Vidyavihar University’s Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory (RIIDL) and the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), under the Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology.
The original prototype was developed to be worn around the neck.
However, after being tested by doctors, it was found to be uncomfortable due to the sound and vibration emitted from it.
So, Nihaal worked on more designs, the last of which could be worn around the waist like a belt, and be attached to PPE kits.
According to Nihaal, the design serves two purposes.
It keeps healthcare workers well-ventilated and comfortable, and keeps them safe from fungal infections.
Speaking of the final design, Nihaal said:
“Since the ventilator is worn close to the body, high-quality components have been used and safety protection measures have also been taken care of.
“When I told my mom that I am going to file a patent for this product, she was very happy.
“Being a General Physician, my mother uses it whenever she goes out for work.”
Now, Nihaal has created a startup called Watt Technovations. He has also revealed that his initial ambitions only extended to helping his mother.
He said: “I never thought of going commercial initially.
“I thought of making it only on a small scale and giving it to the doctors I personally know.
“But later on, when we made it feasible, I realised that the problem is such a massive one, something our healthcare workers face on a daily basis.
“That is when we thought of making a commercial plan so that it is available for everyone in need.”
Pune’s Sai Sneh Hospital and Lotus Multi-Speciality Hospital both use Nihaal’s invention.
Watt Technovations also plans to increase production in May and June 2021.
The ventilation systems cost £53 each, however, Nihaal is working to further reduce the price.
The first batch is already sold out, and are being delivered as trial units to doctors and NGOs across India.
The next batch is under production.