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Durban inventor creates low-cost ventilator

Published Jun 2, 2020


CAPE TOWN- A Durban mechanical engineer and inventor has created a low-cost and effective design for a ventilator which has won him a national competition and will now be assessed by experts.

Over the weekend, Nick Matter won the Makers With Purpose ZA Ventilator Challenge and his team will receive a R5 000 cash prize while the ventilator will be presented to teams at arms company Denel and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) for assessment.

In an article that first appeared in Roving Reporters, Matter, who runs Solmat Consulting Engineers, used the time during lockdown to switch focus and work on his ventilator design which is known as a mandatory mechanical ventilator.

Ventilators are essential for treating serious Covid-19 cases, but they are expensive and difficult to procure.

A ventilator takes over breathing for a patient. It can be adjusted to a patient’s weight by changing the volume of air per breath.

Fewer than 5% of people who contract Covid-19 end up on ventilators, however in South Africa with a population of 50 million, there will be a need for more ventilators.

With support from Denel and UKZN, the teams at Maxwell and Spark and DIY Electronics set up the South African Ventilator Challenge in order to bring the best ideas in the community to the forefront.

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