Guruthisvaran Ramu, a mechanical engineer, invented the ‘EcoFlo’, an instrument for the benefit of the entire world.
‘EcoFlo’ is a breathing support device that is a low-cost continuous positive airway pressure designed for COVID-19 patients to use at home, in transit to the hospital, and while waiting for treatment in the triage room.
Thus, full ventilation is not required. EcoFlo is non-invasive and would allow ventilators in ICUs to be offloaded for the critically ill.
The 34-year-old said in an email interview with Free Malaysia Today,
“An ICU ventilator usually requires the patient to be intubated, while EcoFlo can be used to keep airways open using air pressure.”
Making a contribution to the community
Malaysian-American Guru intends to help the community knowing that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over. He wants to give the units away for free to hospitals and medical personnel.
“Our goal is to make the design and manufacturing details of EcoFlo free and available to the entire world so that manufacturers in developing countries can produce it for their own citizens.”
Guru plans to build 1,000 units with his team of nine other engineers and donate them to hospitals and first responders in catastrophe countries as soon as regulatory agencies give the green light.
His initial plan was to give access to manufacturers who wanted to help, but his team was concerned that the manufacturers would try to profit from it. Companies taking EcoFlo and selling would violate the purpose of the project.
The birth of the ‘EcoFlo’
EcoFlo was inspired by Guru’s childhood friend Dr Prabhu Selvam’s idea, as well as Guru’s experience in developing instruments with Nasa.
Guru works in space exploration technology, developing instruments to measure carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere, while Prabhu is a emergency medicine doctor.
They initially collaborated on a ventilator about a year before the COVID-19 pandemic began, but switched to developing a CPAP device as coronavirus cases increased, health systems worldwide collapsed, and ventilators became limited.
Dr. Prabhu developed the idea for a low-cost breathing device after visiting several countries and noticing a need for low-cost medical solutions to prevent deaths.
Part of the problem with COVID is that it prevents normal breathing, and this device will measure how much air you can take in and determine whether you need more or less air.
A noteworthy act of generosity that is truly noble
Guru, the President and CEO of Mach 33 Engineering in Maryland is inclined to provide designs and a list of parts so that anyone can improve or create their own version of the technology.
“We did not want to patent the concept because we wanted EcoFlo to be freely available to all. We are now trying to buy components through crowdfunding and will fund the effort ourselves if we are unable to raise additional money in time.”
The young inventor hopes that the technology would relieve the strain on intensive care staff and beds, prevent COVID-19 patients from developing debilitating breathing difficulties, and assist patients in recovering without the need for invasive ventilation.
Guru’s parents migrated to the US in the mid-to-late 80s. His father, Ramu Arumugam from Alor Setar served in the military while his mother Vasanthi Ethurajoo hails from Teluk Intan.
Well done Guru and Dr Prabhu, your invention will save many lives!
Source: Free Malaysia Today