Aberdeen scientists develop ventilator to help COVID-19 effort

Space scientists at the University of Aberdeen have developed a ventilator to support worldwide efforts to produce more medical equipment for treating COVID-19 patients.

The new device – known as ATMO-Vent (Atmospheric Mixture Optimization Ventilator) – can be quickly manufactured and is also considered to be more cost-effective and user-friendly than the existing models in development. Work is now underway to have the device officially certified so that it can be rapidly deployed in healthcare settings worldwide. 

The design team is led by Professor Javier Martín-Torres, who heads the Planetary Science Group. He said:

“As a multidisciplinary research group specialising in Martian study, we have a wealth of experience in building, calibrating and qualifying space instruments using commercial components.

“We’ve used this expertise to design and build a fully operating prototype ventilator using widely available parts. This means that it is easy to build and ideally suited to rapid, mass deployment in healthcare settings.”

The Planetary Science Group has recently arrived at the University and is renowned for its expertise in the development of instruments for Earth and planetary exploration. The ongoing pandemic has allowed the Group to put their skills to another use, albeit one which may one day be used as part of its usual activities.

Dr Dave Muirhead, Head of the University’s School of Geosciences, said:

“The arrival of the Planetary Science Group in Aberdeen is an extremely exciting development for the School of Geosciences and the University.

“Their skill in building high-quality instruments for use in planetary research is already world-renowned, and it is to their credit that they have used these skills to offer assistance in the COVID-19 effort.”