UCLan boffins are 3D printing life-saving kit for Covid-19 patients from their own homes

A pair of lecturers have teamed up to make potentially life-saving equipment for Covid-19 patients from their homes.

By Michael Holmes
Thursday, 16th April 2020, 2:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th April 2020, 2:29 pm

A pair of lecturers have teamed up to make potentially life-saving equipment for Covid-19 patients from their homes.

Dr Steve Sigurnjak, a senior lecturer in electronic engineering at the University of Central Lancashire, and colleague Dr Matthew Dickinson, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, have devised and created a bracket which will allow breathing masks to be attached to viral filters.

The design will mean masks can be used to treat people with Covid-19 if hospitals run out of ventilators.

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The potentially life-saving kit

The two came up with the idea after Dr Sigurnjak was approached by friend Wendy Aubrey, a critical care doctor at Salford Royal Hospital, and asked if he could use his 3D printer to help.

He asked Dr Dickinson to come up with a design and within hours they had a

prototype.

The final version is now being printed round the clock from Dr Sigurnjak’s utility room.

The kit attached to a mask

Dr Sigurnjak, who previously used his 3D printer to create toys for his three children, said: “I think our printers have just been going constantly.

“Because these are going to be used when they run out of ventilators, the ideal situation is they would never be used but, if they are, we want to make sure that we’ve got as many as possible, so they could almost become disposable if need be.”

Dr Dickinson said: “Between me and Steve, we’ve been like a double act for years really, so we’ve always taken on design challenges and so-called impossible things to build.

“When it came to this type of thing I just thought yeah, I can do this.”

He added: “These are going to be a key thing to someone surviving this virus or not surviving this virus and for me it’s the reason why we do what we do, it’s the reason we’re in this role. If we can help then gladly.”

He said he hopes the design can be used by others for hospitals around the country.

3D printing is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file.