Young Cambodian engineers at ArrowDot Co Ltd, a company involved in automation, electronics, and industrial robotics, have invented a new device that provides oxygen and support for patients who need respiratory assistance for the new coronavirus pandemic and any relevant ailments.
The breathing device, called the Emergency Low Cost Ventilator Machine (ELCVM), can introduce oxygen and breathe air to the airways for patients suffering from respiratory ailments.
“Its main function plays an important role, similar to the standard ventilators that are used in large hospitals. Easy to use and cheap to produce, the ELCVM could potentially help Covid-19 patients who are struggling with critical respiratory problems,” says Lim Sangva, who co-founded ArrowDot.
Sangva, 35, a former student of electrical and electronics engineering, automation and telecommunications at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, tells The Post: “This is the initial step in our engineers’ tech research to assist the Ministry of Health in case of an outbreak in the Kingdom and a shortage of ventilators.”
The ELCVM, produced in four prototypes, uses a mechanical system to pump oxygen into the airways when the patients breathe in and release it when they breathe out.
“The product is also equipped with adjustments for speed and the amount of oxygen according to the patient’s body mass index. Physicians treating the patient will measure the required parameters first before operating this machine,” says Sangva.
The ventilator was reviewed along with two mobile apps during a meeting between a Technology Study-Research Team and a team from the National Institute of Posts, Telecoms, and ICT. The meeting was presided over by Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Chea Vandeth.
The minister asked the engineering team to continue working with the Ministry of Health to put its products to use in the near future, says the ministry’s Facebook page.
Sangva says the four prototypes, which each took five days to develop at ArrowDot’s laboratory, have been put to trial for quality and function.
“Recently, we took the machine to the Ministry of Health for verification purposes. It will test the ventilator with animals first. Then it will be tested and put to trial by respiratory physicians to compare its efficacy with the standard ventilators at the hospitals.
“We are now just waiting for approval from the ministry as it naturally requires more time to test our ventilator for human use,” says Sangva.
He says his company is also collaborating with the University of Health Sciences to further improve the operation of the ventilator so that the quality of the final product can better save people’s lives.
If there is an eventual outbreak in the Kingdom and Covid-19 causes respiratory difficulties, he says the ventilator would then play an important role in easing patients’ breathing.
Sangva says: “In this situation, ArrowDot’s engineers can produce 10 ventilators per day. But if the outbreak is far-reaching, we can work with engineers from other local universities to mass produce up to 50 ventilators a day.”
He also says that engineering students can be easily taught how to install the ventilators if the outbreak were to worsen and hospitals were to face a shortage of ventilators.
The ELCVM sells for $180 per unit, which Sangva says is the actual amount the company spends to produce it.
“I decided to sell it at the price of production because we believe that we too have to assist the government. It is in the national interest to do our bit in the fight against Covid-19,” he says.
The ELCVM is not made specifically for Covid-19 patients and can also be used to assist other patients with respiratory ailments.
Sangva tells The Post that after the virus is contained, the ventilator can be used for people who find themselves in rural referral hospitals that lack such equipment. The respirator can assist physicians who normally have to pump the wind bag by hand for hours at a time to help patients breathe.
“After it is quality tested and approved for use by Cambodian authorities, we can conclude that it can be used at home too. But users need to be trained and follow our guidelines since its usage should normally be under the supervision of a doctor,” he says.
This is not the first time that the innovative entrepreneur and his team have developed such technologies.
In September, ArrowDot launched a palm-size fire alarm device connected to a mobile app. FireDot was developed to prevent fatalities and catastrophic damage to properties in the Kingdom as a consequence of fires.
In 2017, the firm won an award for Best Research and Development Company in the field of technology from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
Sangva says that aside from the ELCVM and FireDot, ArrowDot has other Internet of Things devices currently in production.
This includes a farming device called Smart Farm Assistance, which helps to control water systems in agricultural fields, and lessens the burden of farmers in the Kingdom.
For more information you can visit ArrowDot’s website (www.arrowdot.io) or Facebook (@ArrowdotTech).