Design of new breathing aid developed by Mercedes to be made freely available
The designs of a new breathing aid developed by engineers at the Mercedes F1 team, University College London (UCL), and clinicians at UCL Hospital have been made freely available to support the global response to Covid-19. It's the latest development in Formula 1’s Project Pitlane effort to help fight coronavirus.
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were developed by engineers at the Mercedes team and University College London (UCL), and clinicians at UCL Hospital after a round-the-clock effort to reverse engineer a device that could be manufactured rapidly by the thousands.
It took fewer than 100 hours from the initial meeting to production of the first device.
And after patient evaluations at UCLH and across sister hospitals in the London area, the device received regulatory approval last week. An order for up to 10,000 has now been placed by the British National Health Service, and the Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains technology centre in Brixworth – the facility where the F1 team’s highly successful power units are developed and built – is now building 1,000 devices per day.
Currently, 40 machines that would normally produce F1 pistons and turbochargers are being used for production of the CPAP devices, and the entire Brixworth facility has been repurposed to meet this demand.
The team behind the aids are also today making the designs required to make the device available for manufacturers to download, to help other healthcare systems support patients with Covid-19.
It is hoped that making this information widely available may help the global response to the crisis by enabling healthcare systems around the world to provide respiratory support for patients with the virus.
Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said: “Since the project was announced, we have received an incredible number of enquiries about the CPAP device from around the world.
“Making the design and manufacturing specifications available on an ‘open source’ basis will allow companies around the world to produce these devices at speed and at scale to support the global response to Covid-19.”
Professor David Lomas, UCL Vice Provost Health, added: “These life-saving devices will provide vital support to the NHS in coming weeks, helping to keep patients off ventilators and reducing demand on intensive care beds and staff.
“It is a phenomenal achievement that they are arriving at hospitals only two weeks after the first prototype was built. It shows what can be done when universities, hospitals and industry work together for the national good.”