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3 Young engineers win Ventilator Challenge contest

BY: Daily Graphic
Ms Patience Nortey of Team Marvel at work
Ms Patience Nortey of Team Marvel at work

A team of three young engineers from Ghana has won the Field Ready Ventilator Challenge.

The winning project was designed by Team Marvel, made up of Ms Patience Nortey, Ms Nelly Appertey and Mr Ishmael Asare.

Their design uses a stepper motor to control a retractor belt to compress an Ambu bag.

Students and alumni from Field Ready’s employability programmes in Mozambique and Ghana competed to design a simple, practical and scalable ventilator as a positive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the competition started there were just 34 ventilators in Mozambique and 75 in Ghana.

Teams

Sixteen teams comprising 56 male and female engineers took up the challenge with five teams based in Mozambique and nine from Ghana. With competitors at home under pandemic restrictions, Field Ready saw the opportunity to leverage the talents of current and past students to do something amazing. While they all had an engineering background, none had previous experience of designing ventilators.

Field Ready engaged 25 leading engineering and scientific experts from around the world as team mentors and judges, with the final judging taking place on April 29.

The expert panel was made up of leading figures from government, industry and academia from eight countries and included ventilator design project teams from M.I.T E-Vent, Virgin Orbit, Texas A&M and University of California Irvine Bridge Ventilator, Cranfield University and Georgia Tech Bag Valve Mask (BVM) ventilator, EPCM Holding’s ventilator, Kahanu ventilator and SEAT’s OxyGEN ventilator.


Judges

The judges were looking for designs that balanced engineering excellence with medical applicability and manufacturing practicality. The expert panel were amazed by the quality and ingenuity of the designs and debate to find the top performing teams was fierce.

Field Ready has engaged Siemens as a partner to work with the winning team in refining the design and to manufacture a prototype. The top three designs will receive cash prizes and will also present their designs to ministers in Ghana and Mozambique. Field Ready has also applied for grants to finance the development, medical testing and local manufacture of the winning design.

Description

Competition judge, Professor Leon Williams, who is also the Director of the Centre for Competitive Design (C4D) at Cranfield University, said: “This is a great example of a design engineering community coming together to create an innovation for social good. It is important to celebrate the significance of design and innovation. These young professionals have proposed some great ideas, demonstrating collective ingenuity and creativity.”

Ms Patience Nortey, a member of winning team, Marvel, said: “We saw an opportunity where we could contribute our engineering skills to help solve a real need in our world today. Winning the competition is a testament to our hard work, collaboration and diligence, it is absolutely the best feeling ever!”

The Managing Director of Field Ready, Jack Pegram, said: “Everyone at Field Ready has been amazed by the response of the Field Ready students – with some incredibly innovative designs. It makes us very proud to be helping these talented young people become the engineering leaders of the future.”