Whoever heard of a vacuum cleaner company saving the populace from misery and death? PAT PILCHER reports on a surprising development in the Coronavirus saga.
There’s no escaping Covid19 news. It’s literally everywhere, and most of it makes for dire reading as infection rates and deaths continue to spiral out of control across the world. But amidst this viral mayhem, some good news is emerging from the world of tech.
Dyson – whose expertise in vacuum cleaners, driers and hair care gear made them a household name – have stepped up to the plate in the UK and joined the fight against Covid-19. This has happened not a moment too soon. UK newspaper, The Mirror reports that intensive care wards in UK Hospitals are so crowded with severe cases of Covid-19 that ventilator rationing has become necessary.
Covid-19 is a respiratory infection. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia-like symptoms, leaving its victims struggling to breathe as their body’s oxygen levels plummet. Once it has reached this stage, the only treatment available involves having the victim hooked up to a medical ventilator to ensure that they can get the oxygen their own respiratory system is unable to provide.
As the Covid-19 pandemonium continues across the UK, Dyson diverted resources from its usual business and designed a ventilator to address these shortages. Their creation (which they call the CoVent) took just two weeks to go from conception to reality. According to the UK media, this happened after the company’s founder, James Dyson, received a call from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who has since been diagnosed with Covid19).
Dyson appears to be moving heaven and earth to get the CoVent to market. They say that the ventilators are probably going to be ready for use in UK hospitals from April. The CoVent machines are to be manufactured at Dyson’s UK facility in Wiltshire. Given the dire situation facing the NHS, the media’s celebration of an additional 10,000 extra ventilators may need to be tempered. It’s estimated hospitals in the UK are going to need 30,000 ventilators if they are to beat the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The futuristic device looks a lot like a leftover prop out of the ‘70s sci-fi TV series Space:1999. While little is known about the CoVent, it appears that it’s designed to mount on the side of a patient’s bed and that it’s both mains and battery powered.
Dyson’s expertise in airflow and fluid dynamics saw them well positioned to take on this task. The CoVent ventilator uses the same digital motor technology as is used in their vacuum cleaners, air purifiers and other products.
According to James Dyson, the CoVent’s innovative design means that it can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and in large volumes. The design not only makes use of tech sourced from Dyson Vacuum cleaners but also draws on their expertise in air filtration. Because of this, the CoVent is said to be ideal for use with Covid-19 patients in a clinical setting.
Dyson says they’ve received an initial order of 10,000 units from the UK Government but that they first must get regulatory approval before any manufacturing can happen. He also commented to UK media that he would donate 5,000 CoVent units to international relief efforts, as well as giving an additional 1,000 to the health sector in the UK.