Triple Eight improves emergency ventilator

Andrew van Leeuwen

Dubbed 'The Conrod Project', T8 has continued to develop the compact, low-power ventilator prototype that it rolled out in late March.

The improved version features more detailed digital information and active responsiveness to patient breathing inputs.

There is also a motor racing-inspired 4G telemetry system, the data from which can be monitored in real time and then downloaded for further analysis later.

According to T8 team manager Mark Dutton, the updates have been made in line with advice from both the Therapeutic Goods Administration and personal consultation with medical professionals.

"The TGA has put together a specification document which has a ‘required’ list and a ‘desired’ list for Covid-19 ventilators," explained Dutton.

"Our ventilator is currently on track to satisfy both lists fully, but clearly would still need to be approved by the TGA if and when it goes into production.

“Today’s ICU ventilators have big graphical screens to display information, which is not in the document from the government, but when we spoke to doctors and ICU specialists, it was clear this was something we should incorporate so that we can aid medical professionals to deliver the best care for the patients.

"On top of that, it became apparent that it’s essential to have a machine that can automatically respond to the patient’s own breathing inputs and react to those positively. Achieving these and other goals for our machine has been a huge challenge but really satisfying.

“Triple Eight has always been an engineering company that goes racing. We have highly specialised engineers. Our skillsets include hitting deadlines, constant improvement, and working to rule books and regulations.

"So that’s perfectly suited to a crisis situation where you need the product now, you need it to keep getting better, and you need to not stop until it’s right, and that’s in our DNA."

Expanding on the telemetry feature, Dutton said it's a response to a potential lack of medical staff able to operate ventilators.

“When we first looked at The Conrod Project and spoke with doctors, their initial worry in Australia was not a lack of ventilators but a lack of staff to operate the ventilators,” he said.

“We’ve tackled that by installing onboard telemetry, like the race cars, so that means one specialist can be monitoring as many patients as they feel comfortable, whether that’s 10, 50 or 100, and with the onboard alarms they can then direct the attention to the patient that needs it.”

Cooling specialist PWR, which is highly active not just in Supercars but in Formula 1 and the wider automotive, aerospace and IT industries, is also involved in The Conrod Project.

“If a ventilator like this is required at some point, for use in sub-optimal conditions such as a field hospital, then PWR are equipped with world-class facilities right here in South East Queensland that could be available to start mass manufacturing very quickly," added Dutton.

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator

The Conrod Project, the development of emergency medical ventilator Triple Eight Race Engineering

Triple Eight Race Engineering