Sports shop Decathlon has transformed snorkelling masks into ventilators for coronavirus patients

Sportswear giant, Decathlon, is using innovation to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus.

The French retailer isn’t typically known for medical manufacturing. However, due to the recent unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19, the sporting goods company has used forward thinking in order to do its part in the effort against the virus.

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Decathlon has been working alongside a Rome based research institute to convert its snorkelling masks into much needed ventilator masks for hospitals around the country.

The chain has partnered up with The Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems (Isinnova), where researchers have used 3D printing to redesign the Easybreath line of underwater snorkels.

Isinnova successfully created a new crucial element which connects the mask to a ventilator, and this makeshift mask could soon be used in hospitals all over the world, for those in a critical condition.

A spokesperson at Isinnova commented, “The prototype as a whole has been tested on one of our colleagues directly inside the Chiari Hospital, connected to the ventilator body, and has proven to be correctly working.

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“The hospital itself was enthusiastic about the idea and decided to test the device on a patient in need. The testing was successful.”

Where did the idea come from?

The innovation initially began in an effort to support Italian hospitals, but is now being offered outside of the country, to hospitals all around the world.

The head physician of the Gardone Valtrompia hospital in Italy contacted Isinnova to ask for help in solving the shortage of ventilator masks. The Institute then made contact with Decathlon and the sportswear giant promptly created blueprints of the new mask.

Health professionals can now buy the makeshift masks from Decathlon, and Isinova has released video instructions on its proper use.

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Other companies making ventilators

It is not only Decathlon that has been brainstorming ways to support overwhelmed hospitals.

Dyson has been working hard to manufacture its newly designed, custom built ventilator, ‘CoVent’, just 10 days after the government ordered 10,000 to help the fight against the pandemic.

Commenting on the effort, Entrepreneur Sir James Dyson has said “the race is on” to get these new ventilators into production. Once made, he has promised to donate 5,000 ventilators to hospitals around the world.

Another company working hard to come up with solutions is Worcester-based manufacturer, Gtech, which plans to make its prototype ventilator design public in order for others to use it.

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