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HEV – a stripped-down ventilator to help COVID-19 patients

A team led by physicists from the LHCb collaboration has developed a design for a novel ventilator to help patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

HEV High Energy Ventilator Prototype
Particle physicists propose stripped-down ventilator to help combat COVID-19. High Energy Ventilator (HEV) prototype in production at b 21. The design for this novel ventilator was proposed by the LHCb collaboration. (Image: CERN)

Developed by a team of physicists from the LHCb collaboration, the High Energy Ventilator, HEV, is a novel stripped-down design based on components that are simple and cheap to source. It stems from the realisation that the systems that are routinely used to supply and control gas at desired temperatures and pressures to particle detectors could be adapted to provide breathing assistance to patients suffering with less severe symptoms, or in the recovery phase of COVID-19 symptoms.

Developed in full consultation with medical professionals, the HEV design could be used for patients in mild or recovery phases, enabling the more high-end machines to be freed up for the most intensive cases. It has been designed with ease of deployment in mind, and is complementary to the large scale industrial efforts being undertaken by large companies such as Airbus and General Motors. The design is based on easily-sourced components, and the control software is encapsulated in a dedicated microcontroller that will, along with other low-power components, enable the deployment of the HEV in areas with limited resources and unstable power distribution. This will make it possible to power  the HEV with batteries, solar panels or emergency power generators. Hospital trials are foreseen for mid-April.

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