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Toronto’s Transpod Hyperloop is developing a ventilator specifically for COVID patients


Transpod, an international aerospace technology company from Toronto with offices in France, Italy and Sweden as well is normally working on development projects like the proposed 1,000 km/h hyperloop fifth mode of transportation featured here recently.

But during these dark times where so many provincial and national industrial and techological firms are putting aside their main focus to help in the fight to stifle the novel coronavirus, Transpod is using their technology and expertise to develop a highly advanced ventilator specifically to combat COVID-19.

Transpod tweeted that they are busy “working around the clock to supply ventilators as soon as possible and they included numerous health care organisations within their tweet, including Mississauga’s Trillium Health Partners, National Research Council of Canada, and the Code Life Ventilator challenge account to name a few.

The Code Life ventilator challenge was launched in mid-March by The Montreal General Hospital Foundation , in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). It is a global innovation challenge, backed by a $200,000 CAD prize, calling for teams to design a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and easy-to-maintain ventilator which could be deployed anywhere needed to save lives.

The challenge was specifically to design a low-cost, simple, easy to use and easy to build ventilator that can serve COVID patients, in an emergency time-frame. It should be easy to build locally, must be easy to verify its functionality, and must meet the design requirements specified here. Three finalists will be selected and their designs will be available to download for free.

There was an emphasis on the ventilator being built locally and to motivate participation from local manufacturers, participants were encouraged to submit provisional patents prior to the announcement of final designs, while granting license to local builders to manufacture their designs during the COVID crisis. 

Code Life said they believe that “with the wide availability of rapid manufacturing—3D printers, CNC machines—combined with low-cost computers (i.e., your smartphone, Arduino, raspberry pi, etc), offer the possibility of a simple, broadly available ventilator with sufficient performance to get through the COVID-19 crisis.”

Teams from around the world are stepping up for the competition and in an article written by Adam Stanley for MARS Magazine explained that Transpod co-founder along with his team in Sweden “were already in the midst of designing a fresh-air system for its vehicle cabins — the hyperloop trains are set to travel as frequently as subways but as fast as airplanes, so the need for good air circulation is paramount — so some of the development needed for a ventilator system already existed. TransPod started testing its product the week of March 23 and is working with hospitals and the medical community across Canada and overseas to deploy it,” says Stanley.

Meanwhile big company’s like Bauer and Dyson and many more are also shifting normal production from things like hockey visor and vacuums respectively, to PPE face shields and ventilators.

Also locally, in addition to TransPod, Thornhill Medical another Toronto company is increasing production of its groundbreaking, proprietary MOVES® SLC™ portable life support and ventilator unit which they say will support hospitals and health care facilities across Canada to deliver much-needed life-saving treatment to patients requiring urgent care.

by Terry Lankstead

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