Pune start-up working hard to make a low-cost ventilator for coronavirus patients

Pranita Roy
Thursday, 2 April 2020

A group of young engineers at Nocca Robotics, a Bhosari-based start-up is working on developing a low-cost ventilator to boost resources and help save the lives of several affected during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Pimpri: A group of young engineers at Nocca Robotics, a Bhosari-based start-up is working on developing a low-cost ventilator to boost resources and help save the lives of several affected during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Seven engineers from Pune namely company’s founders Nikhil Kurele (26) and Harshit Rathore (26), senior product manager Tushar Agarwal (23), two design engineers Mayur Chate (28) and Abhay Purohit (32) and their two engineer friends have been working tirelessly for the past 10 days to build this ventilator.

They have also roped in their professors and batchmates from IIT Kanpur and are in continuous collaboration with doctors and hospitals in the city as well as across the country, who are helping them develop the system.

Rathore said, “A few weeks back we came across a news that there is a shortage of specific ventilators which support COVID-19 patients across the globe, especially in countries which are worse affected and now India as well. It was then we started connecting with doctors and professors in our contact who are largely working on the availability of equipment in this pandemic.”

He also stated that not all ventilators support COVID-19 patients, there are only some ventilators that support complex respiratory problems. There are around 70,000 ventilators which fill the requirements of this pandemic in the country. “In the coming times, if the situation gets worse, there will be an urgent need for more such ventilators. The present ventilators cost more than Rs 5 lakhs, so we are trying to cut down the cost and fill the gap,” he said.

“On March 24, we had our first brainstorming session, and by March 26, we developed our first prototype. It has not been clinically tested yet. We are going for five-days trial on artificial lungs on April 10,” Rathore further added.

One of the major challenges these men are facing is non-availability of components to build the ventilator due to the lockdown. “Since we can’t import components from foreign countries and many local manufacturing companies are shut during this lockdown, we aren’t able to get all components easily. 

“We have called up and requested a few shops who agreed to facilitate the requirements in this lockdown. Also, we are taking utmost care that the quality of the ventilator will not be compromised in any way,” said Rathore.

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