SCG working on coronavirus respirator solution using snorkeling masks

Jonathon Ramsey

The necessity brought on the by novel coronavirus is resulting in many inventions. In Italy, a shortage of C-PAP masks and other respirators available to those afflicted with Covid-19 led a team to create a 3D-printed set of valves that connect to an off-the-shelf full-face snorkeling mask. Working with the plentiful masks sold by European sporting goods store Decathlon, the "Charlotte" and "Dave" valves permit numerous oxygen delivery setups to serve patient needs. Best of all, the inventors have made the design plans downloadable and free. In the U.S., where automakers are switching to the production of medical gear, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus — having already donated its Connecticut factory space to serve as a hospital — is working on something similar to the Italian invention, but for medical personnel.

A Facebook post explains company designers have teamed up with a mechanical engineer who's already designed medical equipment. Together, they're drawing up an injection-molded universal adapter for full-face snorkel masks that can fit a C-PAP in-line bacteria filter for healthcare workers to wear while they attend to patients. The automaker wrote that the "basic idea is to create a tapered, medical-grade, allergenic stretchable fitting" between the mask and an HME filter common in hospitals. One design allows for two filters and increased airflow. Such a device would essentially combine an N95 mask with a full-face shield, eliminating the need for a nurse to wear a mask under a shield.

SCG said it was obligated to act after reading stories of nurses reusing N95 masks in neonatal units, of healthcare professionals forced to use bandannas for lack of anything better, and hearing from a doctor about driving around the state looking for additional supplies. The goal is to produce 4 million adapters that fit a wide range of masks sitting on the shelves of sporting-goods stores. SCG wrote in its Facebook posts that if it charges anything for the adapter, the price would only cover the cost of manufacture. A 3D printing company has already been in touch with SCG. If anyone has expertise that can assist with the effort, you can leave a note for the company on the Facebook post.