A Pakistani entrepreneur, Yaser Awan, has developed a 3D printed valve that converts a single-use ventilator into a multi-use respirator, without affecting the cost.
His innovation is receiving accolades on social media. One of his fellow entrepreneurs, Zarlasht Faisal, wrote a lengthy Twitter thread in appreciation.
Zarlasht reveals how Yaser presented his idea on Twitter and demanded help from the 3D printing sector. She said no one from Pakistan approached him; instead, a pointless debate went on for days until someone from Australia prepared a prototype.
The next step was to get it printed, but due to the lockdown in Sindh and across the country, it was difficult. So he had to ask people on Twitter to help him get the printing done so it could be tested.
Urgent: Twitter World, Do your magic. We need to 3D Print these ventilator extensions somewhere near Gambat Institute hospital. Its in Khairpur. Logistics are completely off in sindh so i am looking for a 3D printer near this. Please help me find onehttps://t.co/8VGQGjHq4t pic.twitter.com/f8kgkUoyR6
— Yaser Awan (@yaserawan) March 26, 2020
After a search of a few hours, he finally found someone in Rahim Yar Khan ready to help out. The printing got done overnight, and the valves were prepared for testing the next morning, but many leading hospitals hesitated, lingering the testing for ‘next week.’ That was when Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH) agreed to test it.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, she explained how Dr. Faisal Sultan, the CEO of SKMH, responded positively. With his help, a mechatronics engineering team also got involved in improving the splitter design further to increase the capacity from one to four ventilators.
Turning 100 ventilators into 400; A thread on the resilience and potential of young creators in Pakistan.
It all started with a story read on 3D printing and how it can contribute to fast tracking the making of life saving equipment amidst an unprecedented global pandemic. pic.twitter.com/hIYRo93aVd
— Zarlasht Faisal (@ZarlashtFaisal) March 27, 2020
Successful testing led to an increase in demand from several hospitals, and the splitter design was shared with 3D printers across the country to encourage them to volunteer for the cause of humanity. A good number of printers agreed, and now, the 3D respirators are being printed across the country.
At a time when Pakistan is in dire need of cheap indigenously-built equipment in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, Awan’s innovation can prove to be a real game-changer.
Commenting on Yaser’s achievement, she said:
Innovation is all about solving a problem WHEN it needs to be solved. No procrastination. All this happened over a span of a few days; Shaukat Khanum helped when it stepped up to understand the potential of what these young Pakistanis were creating for battlefield medicine.
Yaser and the company have not yet aligned the product with ventilator manufacturers or followed proper documentation due to the urgency.