There are currently over 600,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, and countries with a high number of cases are facing immense pressure and are exhausting their medical resources. Severe cases of COVID-19 will have difficulty breathing and they need to rely on ventilators which are in short supply. Dyson, the British technology company that’s known for making vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and hair styling products, has been roped in by the UK government to make 10,000 ventilators.
According to CNN Business, Dyson’s founder, James Dyson said that his company has designed and built a ventilator called Covent in 10 days after receiving a phone call from UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The ventilators will be ready by early April and Dyson has pledged 5,000 extra ventilators to combat the pandemic.
In the process of designing the ventilator, James Dyson said that the core challenge was how to design and deliver a new sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short time. As a comparison, it took 7 years of research and development for its latest Dyson Corrale hair straightener.
The Covent is said to be designed to meet specifications set by clinicians for ventilator hardware. It can be mounted to a bed and it is also battery powered for flexible use. The ventilators will also use a modified version of Dyson’s existing digital motors which are available in high volume. Dyson’s most powerful motor at the moment is the V11 which can spin up to 125,000 RPM.
Due to the urgency, Dyson said that the Covent can be manufactured quickly and efficiently at volume, and it is designed to address the specific needs of coronavirus patients.
Before the new ventilators can be used by the National Health Service (NHS), it must obtain regulatory approval. According to UK business minister Alok Sharma, the government wants to see prototypes to come in a matter of weeks before they move into large scale production. He said they want to ensure that these new devices meet the requirements and are safe to use.
Besides Dyson, other companies have also responded to the global call to manufacture more ventilators. This includes US carmakers such as Ford, GM and Tesla. According to Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, they are reopening its Giga New York factory for ventilator production.