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Queen’s community takes on the Code Life Ventilator Challenge

More Confronting COVID-19 Stories

Faculty and students at the Human Mobility Research Centre and Ingenuity Labs have joined forces with Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) health professionals to take on the Code Life Ventilator Challenge, a global call to design a low-cost and easy-to-manufacture ventilator that can be created and deployed anywhere around the world.

The Code Life Ventilator Challenge is a two-week sprint created by the Montreal General Hospital Foundation in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. The challenge calls on teams to design a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture, and easy-to maintain ventilator to help ease massive shortages during the coronavirus crisis.

The Queen’s/KHSC team of 18 includes faculty members and students, as well as health professionals.

“There’s a global shortage of ventilators, and with the outbreak still rapidly progressing, this has become a life and death issue,” says Tim Bryant, Professor Emeritus, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. “Now is the time to come together to respond to this crisis with real solutions. This challenge will save lives.” 

The team is working on a design that uses Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) technology in its design. These machines, which help healthy people with sleep apnea breathe more easily, have the potential to be modified to support or replace breathing for a coronavirus patient.

The team has been able to work on the creation of a prototype thanks to very generous donations of CPAP machines from individuals who responded to a social media request for help. A panel of experts will be judging all designs and posting the top three online for free downloading to anyone who is able to manufacture them.

“Today, more than ever, engineers need to be engaged global citizens,” says Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Dean Kevin Deluzio. “I’m proud of our team and their commitment to finding solutions during these challenging times. It is multidisciplinary teams like this that are required to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.”

In the coming weeks, as the design-build phase of the challenge is completed, the faculty will provide further updates on the team’s progress. Anyone interested in following along is encouraged to “Like” the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s Facebook age for further updates.