Design engineer reaches final of global challenge to invent new ventilator

A Scottish design engineer is the only non-American finalist in a global challenge to invent a new ventilator for coronavirus patients.

Ross Hunter is one of seven finalists from more than 200 entries that were submitted to the CoVent-19 Challenge in 40 countries.

Mr Hunter, chief executive of Armadilla in Bonnyrigg just outside of Edinburgh, is the only individual entrant to reach the final to develop low-cost, readily deployable mechanical ventilators and his design stems from a project for speciality coffee machines.

While his company has been adhering to the lockdown measures, Mr Hunter has worked on his own to develop the prototype and 3D models for his CORE Vent product, which does not rely on existing component supplies.

He said: “When I heard about the CoVent-19 Challenge I decided I had to enter to try to help the growing number of Covid-19 sufferers across the world.

“The pandemic is having devastating effects on people and communities everywhere and one of the best ways to treat sufferers is by ensuring there are enough effective and affordable ventilators available, especially in developing countries that don’t have many resources.

“Just because we in the UK seem to be getting on top of Covid-19, we mustn’t forget the less fortunate.

“I’m still taking in the news that I’ve reached the finals of the challenge up against such strong international competition.

“I’m pleased to have been able to use my design skills and experience in such a worthwhile way while my own family business Armadilla is in lockdown, and to be able to involve colleagues in this fast-moving challenge.

“We’re now working hard to develop our CORE Vent prototype into a fully-functioning ventilator that I hope will end up helping those people affected by coronavirus.”

Ross Hunter
Ross Hunter is one of just seven finalists from more than 200 entries (Muckle Media/PA)

Mr Hunter’s design originated from a project carried out in his spare time over the last few years developing a new concept for speciality coffee machines.

If chosen as the winner after the June 21 deadline, the invention will be produced by his firm’s partners around the world.

He suggests it would be available for a fraction of the cost of current ventilators.

Mr Hunter added: “I studied mechanical engineering and product design and have always enjoyed tinkering and inventing.

“I’m fortunate to have Armadilla’s facilities to develop concepts and flesh out ideas, such as my concept for a new ventilator.”

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