TU Delft students design new ventilator; Gov't likely to buy 500
The Ministry of Health is planning to purchase 500 ventilators from a group of students at TU Delft who spent the last three weeks working toward its development, broadcaster NOS reports. If the last round of testing is successfully completed, the production of the ventilator, called AIRone, is expected to begin at a manufacturing facility on the TU Delft campus as soon as Thursday.
The team of students began working on the project in mid-March under the supervision of Professor Jaap Harlaar. At the time, when ICU beds in the Netherlands were quickly becoming occupied by Covid-19 patients, the students began noticing a sharp increase in demand for ventilators which prompted them to begin working on a design of their own.
"Our approach has always been to make a ventilator to treat Dutch corona patients should a shortage arise," Lucas Ottenheym, master's student of clinical technology at TU Delft told Nieuwsuur.
The students received a subsidy to produce the ventilators from the Ministry of Economic Affairs after Minister Eric Wiebes visited the campus last week. The subsidy helped the team to "go full throttle, but with the handbrake on until the final approval," Harlaar said.
"We expect to be able to deliver 500 before the end of April," he added.
Due to a global demand for ventilator equipment, the Dutch government has taken to encouraging Dutch companies and other private initiatives to develop the devices themselves for use primarily in the Dutch market. According to local technology publication Bits&Chips, the components which make up AIRone were all sourced locally in the Netherlands, with parts coming from variously from Amsterdam, Delft, Heemskerk, and Veenendaal, among others.