Students want to help meet need for ventilators

It’s often been said that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and that proverb rings true for two high school students who have stepped up in the fight against COVID-19 by developing a non-invasive ventilation prototype they hope to bring to market.

“When we realized there was a shortage of ventilators, we started researching how to build an inexpensive option to aid in the fight against COVID-19,” says Marcus Chan of Richmond Hill High School. “By creating a filtration system for the PolyMask, we hope to make non-invasive ventilation a viable option to help treat patients with COVID-19.”

“We both saw an opportunity to learn something new and help people at the same time,” said Ryan Lam of Unionville High School. “This experience has been incredibly valuable for us as we have learned new skills and begun to understand what is involved in bringing a product to market.”

The pair used Fusion 360 CAD/CAM software to create their initial design and are now using 3D printing to create a prototype. Non-invasive ventilation hasn’t been used to treat patients with COVID-19 because of aerosolization, the process in which a virus can be dispersed in small particles.

The PolyMask aims to be the first non-invasive ventilation mask to introduce a filtration system that eliminates aerosolization. Marcus and Ryan have teamed up with a peer from Peel District School Board who’s exploring injection moulding to help bring the product to market. They have also applied for multiple micro-grants and are actively seeking mentorship opportunities to help them in their venture.

Photo: Marcus Chan, left, and Ryan Lam have developed a ventilation prototype.

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