Coronavirus has absolutely devastated Italy.
Italy now has more than 54,000 recorded infections and more than 6,800 dead, and the rate of increase keeps growing, with more than half the cases and fatalities coming in the past week.
A pair of Italian engineers from Brescia in Italy have gone viral this week after they came up with a plan. A very good plan.
Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli work at their startup company, Issinova , which makes things earthquake sensors, silicone bandages, bicycles — practical stuff. A week or so ago they discovered that that doctors from a nearby hospital didn’t have enough valves for their lifesaving ventilator machines.
Since they were not able to view the original blueprints for the ventilators due to medical manufacturing regulations, they went to the hospital themselves.
There they discovered that the valve, which connects the patient to the breathing machine, mixing pure oxygen with air that enters through a rectangular window, needed to be replaced after each patient. The valve was what they needed more of.
Using reverse engineering, adrenaline and a 3-D printer they had at their office, the pair set to work. After several failed attempts, they had something they thought would work. Fracassi and Romaioli returned to the hospital where they handed them over to a doctor.
They valves worked and the doctor asked for 100 more. As coronavirus rages on, they have gotten requests from all over Italy for their valves.
In an article they wrote for the New York Times , Fracassi and Romaioli let everyone to know that we are willing to share our 3-D model. There’s a catch, though; "The model we recreated is called a Venturi valve, and different ventilators likely need different types of valves. People in other places might have to step in with new designs."
The success of their valve sparked a second idea : to modify a snorkeling mask . Doctor Favero got in touch with the creative pair and shared an idea that could help fix the possible shortage of hospital C-PAP masks, realized by adjusting a snorkeling mask already available on the market.
Again, they have made the plans available to all.