Dyson plans to manufacture 15,000 ventilators in an effort to assist with COVID-19 response efforts. The company, which specializes in household appliances like bladeless fans and hair dryers, managed to develop a ventilator in just ten days using its existing suite of technology. Dyson follows other major corporations including Ford and 3M that have stepped up to manufacture medical devices that are currently in short supply as hospitals reach maximum capacity and the global coronavirus death toll surpasses 24,000.
Dyson founder James Dyson said in a letter to employees that the CoVent, as the company's ventilator is being called, "can be manufactured quickly, efficiently, and at volume." He says it was designed to address the specific needs of COVID-19 patients. Coronavirus can cause inflammation in the lungs that makes it difficult to breathe; ventilators help by mechanically pumping oxygen into the lungs.
Med-Tech News further reports that the CoVent can be mounted on a bed, run on batteries or wall power, and doesn't require a fixed air supply.
An unexpected use for Dyson's hair drying expertise — It's pretty amazing that these companies have been able to design and manufacture a completely new product so quickly, and especially amid the current climate, but it's not as crazy as you might think. In Dyson's case the company has quite a bit of experience handling air through its well-regarded hair dryers (our own Raymond Wong loves them) and fans. Ventilators really aren't that different if you think that their primary function is also regulating the flow of air. As such Dyson was able to use much of its existing motor and filter technology in the CoVent.
Still, the company had to create software for the ventilator, which was designed specifically for use by healthcare providers. That's not exactly something within Dyson's wheelhouse. And this is a medical device we're talking about, meaning it also needs to be approved by regulators before it can go into use.
Once that approval comes down, the UK-based Dyson will be supplying 10,000 units to that country's National Health Service and donating 5,000 more to the "international effort." Dyson hopes that it can begin shipping the CoVent by early April.