Snorkeling Mask Turned Into Ventilator For Coronavirus Treatment

A technology start-up in Italy has adapted a full-face snorkeling mask into a viable hospital ventilator for treatment of the novel coronavirus.

Isinnova, founded and led by Cristian Fracassi, has expanded on recent efforts to solve a shortage of ventilator valves in some Italian hospitals with the use of 3D printing by adapting a product being sold by Decathlon into a working respiratory system.

The start-up patented the valve link but released its designs so experts can replicate the work for free. Tests have so far proven successful, the team said in a blog post.

The Isinnova team has said its project is “totally non-profit” and it does not receive any money from sales of the modified mask.

The company used the “Easybreath” snorkeling mask for this project.

“The company was immediately willing to cooperate by providing the… drawing of the mask we had identified. The product was dismantled, studied, and the changes to be made were evaluated. A new component was then designed to guarantee the connection to the ventilator. We called the link the “Charlotte valve,” and we quickly printed it using 3D printing,” the Isinnova team explained.

Cristian Fracassi, left, and his Isinnova colleague Alessandro Ramaioli show off their 3D-printed valves in Italy.

A fully-working prototype was tested in the Chiari Hospital and proven to be effective, although the business has stressed online that the design remains an “uncertified biomedical device.”