FUTA Researchers Develop Unique Ventilator

By Musa Sunusi Ahmad

As part of efforts to continue its contribution to the ongoing battle
against the rampaging Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic , a team of
researchers at the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA has
developed a positive pressure ventilator ,a variant of mechanical
ventilator. Presenting the prototype to the university management,
the Dean, School of Engineering and Engineering Technology, SEET,
Professor Aremu Akintunde said the present design falls within the
non-invasive mechanical ventilator category.

He said noninvasive mechanical ventilators come with covers and can
be used at health facilities and at home because of its versatility
adding that the design is of the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
(CPAP) type which delivers constant and steady pressure. The System
runs on direct Current and can be configured to be powered by solar
energy thus it has no direct negative effect on the environment.

Another unique advantage of the device is its portability as it can
be used in ambulances in the case of emergency and it can also be used
in Primary Health Care facilities in the rural areas. It is also
configured in a way to run on car battery which carries 12 volts.

While explaining how the device works, Akintunde said that compliance
and resistance for periodical dispensation of tidal volume was
calculated and accomplished by using intermittent inspiratory and
expiratory pause since normal breathing consists of an average Tidal
Volume (VT) of 5ml/kg. He said the machine was designed to dispense VT
between 5ml/kg and 10ml/kg and that the machine has two parts namely
the mechanical part which does the pumping of the air (Oxygen) while
the electronic part offers the control and sensor of the mechanism
.Akintunde disclosed that the mechanical part was achieved through a
control system while the electronic part was achieved through a sensor
system using positive feedback loop. He said the control system also
monitors the position and speed of the cam-and –pedal system that
operates the pump, while the control allows the operator to regulate
the required VT for the patient.

The team leader of the research group, Dr. Peter Ayodeji said that the
principle of the machine was taken from the bellows used by the local
blacksmiths. He said that the machine was functional in enabling
affected patients take in enough oxygen into their lungs adding that
the machine was assembled using locally available materials except for
the motor and the sensor materials. Ayodeji stated that the local
content of the device is well above 85 per cent and was cost effective as it
costs about N500, 000 to produce a set and when mass produced will
definitely costs less. He appreciated the moral and financial support
of the Vice Chancellor towards the successful completion of the

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Fuwape commended
the various schools in the University for bringing new ideas into
every aspect of curbing the pandemic. He said coming after the
development of a hand sanitizer dispensing system, the ventilator has
taken FUTA’s contributions to the fight against the pandemic a notch

He lauded the contribution of the Federal Medical Centre Owo, Ondo
State for collaborating with the researchers at the onset of the
project saying the University was ready to partner with relevant
health agencies and institutions in respect of the unique ventilator.

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