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Mumbai student develops air device to keep docs cool in PPE suits

Mumbai student develops air device to keep docs cool in PPE suits

An engineering college student in Mumbai has developed a compact ventilation system for PPE kits that is expected to bring much-needed relief for doctors and healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle, according to a Press Information Bureau statement.

The product called Cov-Tech can be worn around the waist, just like a belt. It can be attached with the conventional PPE kits and keeps the health workers well-ventilated and comfortable. It also helps to prevent various fungal infections, according to a Press Information.

Hard work for over six months led to the development of around 20 developmental prototypes and 11 ergonomic prototypes before the final product emerged.  He was helped by a Central government laboratory and the state-of-the-art prototyping facility at Dassault Systems in Pune helped Nihaal develop prototypes effectively and at ease.

How the system works

Nihaal, a second-year student of Mumbai’s 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 air flow inside." The design of the ventilation system ensures a complete air seal from the PPE kit. It provides a breeze of fresh air to the user in a gap of just 100 seconds.

For the 19-year-old student innovator Nihaal Singh Adarsh, his Pune-based doctor mother’s necessity became the fount of inspiration for his invention.

The recognition of the problem led him to participate in a design challenge for COVID-related equipment, organized by Technological Business Incubator, Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory .

From The First Prototype to The Final Product

The design challenge led Nihaal to work on the first prototype. With guidance from Dr. Ulhas Kharul of National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, Nihaal was able to develop the first model in 20 days. Dr. Ulhas runs a start-up which does research on a membrane to filter air, with the aim of preventing spread of COVID-19. From here, Nihaal got the idea about what type of filter he should use, in order to achieve an optimum balance between filtration efficiency and air flow quality.

He also got crucial support from Somaiya Vidyavihar University’s RIIDL (Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory), supported by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.