A team of researchers from the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA has developed a positive pressure ventilator, a variant of mechanical ventilator.
Presenting the prototype to the university authority, the Dean, School of Engineering and Engineering Technology SEET, Prof. Aremu Akintunde said the present design falls within the non-invasive mechanical ventilator category.
He said noninvasive mechanical ventilators come with covers and can be used at health facilities and at home because of its versatility adding that the design is of the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) type which delivers constant and steady pressure.
The system runs on direct current and can be configured to be powered by solar energy thus it has no direct negative effect on the environment.
Another unique advantage of the device is its portability as it can be used in ambulances in the case of emergency and it can also be used in Primary Health Care facilities in the rural areas. It is also configured in a way to run on car battery which carries 12 volts.
Explaining how the device works, Akintunde said that compliance and resistance for periodical dispensation of tidal volume was calculated and accomplished by using intermittent inspiratory and expiratory pause since normal breathing consists of an average Tidal Volume (VT) of 5ml/kg.
He said the machine was designed to dispense VT between 5ml/kg and 10ml/kg and that the machine has two parts namely the mechanical part which does the pumping of the air (Oxygen) while the electronic part offers the control and sensor of the mechanism.
Akintunde disclosed that the mechanical part was achieved through a control system while the electronic part was achieved through a sensor system using positive feedback loop. He said the control system also monitors the position and speed of the cam-and -pedal system that operates the pump, while the control allows the operator to regulate the required VT for the patient.
The team lead, Dr. Peter Ayodeji said that the principle of the machine was taken from the bellows used by the local blacksmiths.
He said that the machine was functional in enabling affected patients take in enough oxygen into their lungs adding that the machine was assembled using 85 per cent locally-sourced materials except for the motor and the sensor materials.
Ayodeji said it cost about N500, 000 to produce a set and when mass produced will definitely costs less. He appreciated the moral and financial support of the Vice Chancellor towards the successful completion of the prototype.
Praising the team for the effort, the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Joseph Fuwape also lauded the institution’s various schools for bringing new ideas into every aspect of curbing the pandemic.
Coming after the development of a sanitizer dispensing system, Fuwape said the ventilator had taken FUTA’s contributions a notch higher.
Fuwape said the role of scientists was to bring solutions to the problems of the society and it was laudable that FUTA was contributing its own quota to this end.
He lauded the contribution of the Federal Medical Centre Owo, Ondo State for collaborating with the researchers at the onset of the project saying the University was ready to partner with relevant health agencies and institutions in respect of the unique ventilator.
Other members of the team are: Dr. Peter Ajayi, Dr. Kanisuru Adeyeri, Dr. Akinlolu Ponnle, Dr. Adebisi Akinola, Dr. Jide Popoola, Mr. Olaide Agbolade, Mr. Sola Oladiran, and Mr. Charles Udekwe.