Isolated in Yamba making a breather
A TRIP across the Pacific for a cancelled wedding, followed by the COVID-19 lockdown has been the catalyst for the creation of a low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients, designed in Yamba.
Clarence girl Jemma Williams brought her Chilean industrial designer partner Ignacio Diaz Katalinic to the Valley for her sister's wedding just over a month ago.
The disease pandemic led to the wedding cancellation as well as the planned two-month road trip along the Australian east coast.
With their plans suddenly on hold due to social distancing, Mr Katalinic decided to put his skills to good use and join a growing number of innovators around the world working to create new low-cost ventilator which can be quickly produced to treat COVID-19 patients.
"The idea is to create a ventilator that can be produced quickly, almost anywhere in the world, using a laser cut or a CNC router machine and readily available materials," he said.
To show how it could be done, Ignacio designed the first prototype using a bag valve mask (manual resuscitator) lent to him by Yamba Surf Life Saving Club.
"I wanted to make it so any one with access to laser cutting or a CNC router and some items you can get from Mitre 10, could make a ventilator for COVID-19 patients," he said.
Since then he has tested the first design with some medical professionals in Chile and teamed up with some colleagues back home to work on a second prototype, named ¨Aria.¨ (ivy.cl/aria).
¨We´re hoping to refine the design and eventually release it as 'open source,' which means anyone can download and use it,¨ Mr Katalinic said.
¨At the moment we are working on optimising the design for use in hospitals.
"The best thing at the moment is we are working 24/7 on the project. When we're asleep here they're working on it (in Chile).
Mr Katalinic said he knew of at least one local company with the machinery capable of building these ventilators.
"I would like to find anyone in the area who would like to get involved or has a laser cutting machine or a CNC router," he said.
¨It would be great to see if this could be adapted to the Australian context, too or somewhere like Indonesia where the pandemic was putting existing medical facilities under stress.
"We're putting it out as open source so anyone can develop it," he said.
"But we would like to make some money to cover our costs."
Mr Katalinic´s email is firstname.lastname@example.org