Ansys, a global engineering simulation company, entered into an agreement with an IIT-Kanpur led consortium to assist in the development of low-cost ventilators to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in India.

Under the supervision of the consortium, NOCCA Robotics Private Limited, an IIT-K incubated startup, is developing indigenized and low-cost invasive ventilators called Nocca V110, said an IIT-K communique.

When someone has severe difficulty in breathing, they may need assistance from a ventilator which is able to move air in and out of the lungs. Invasive and non-invasive ventilators differ in how the air is delivered to the person.

An invasive ventilator is the most recommended type of ventilator for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) making it more suitable for COVID-19 affected patients for respiratory support. It is suitable for India as it ensures the safety of frontline doctors dealing with the patients.

The machines that can be tested on patients will be out in a few days. Once the prototype is out, the team targets to produce 30,000 units by May 2020, the press release stated.

Engineers at NOCCA Robotics have prototypes of a portable machine ready. They are being tested on artificial lungs, a prosthetic device that provides oxygen and removes carbon dioxide from the blood.

The entire project is being coordinated by Professor Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, professor-in-charge, Startup Innovation & Incubation Center (SIIC), IIT Kanpur.

Ansys, headquartered in the US, is the first company which has joined hands with the consortium and FIRST (Foundation for Innovation and Research in Science Technology), the premier institute's company that oversees incubation activities of IIT Kanpur, to speed up the development of these ventilators.

As part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, Ansys has come forward by offering a dedicated grant to the project that will be utilised for procuring materials, testing, trials and other expenses.

"We are very happy to have Ansys on board with us for the development of this indigenous, low-cost ventilator. With their significant funding and technical support to NOCCA Robotics, we are one step closer to bringing this critical device to our healthcare providers. Our gratitude to Ansys for their generous gesture.” said Abhay Karandikar, director, IIT Kanpur.

Nocca V110 is a modular, power efficient invasive ventilator that operates in a pressure-controlled mode and the IoT (the Internet of Things) enabled design allows multiple ventilators to be controlled via remote control.

It has been designed in a way that it can be manufactured on a large scale at multiple sites using materials easily available with Indian suppliers and manufacturers.

Speaking about the CSR agreement, Rafiq Somani, Area Vice President - India and South Asia Pacific, Ansys, said, “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that we are all facing today, one thing that is constantly worrying the government and the hospitals is ventilator shortage."

Nocca Robotics and IIT-K have created a consortium of biomedical engineers, doctors, R&D leaders, supply chain and medical technology businesses to harness their expertise and take the design from the idea to the actual product.

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