NSPA team donates 3D-printed connectors to turn snorkels into emergency ventilators masks in the fight against COVID-19

30 March 2020

The NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) team in Taranto, Italy, has engaged in an innovative initiative to help tackling the shortage of ventilator masks during the coronavirus crisis. The team will produce 25 3D printed connectors on a weekly basis, converting snorkelling masks into emergency ventilator masks.

As the coronavirus spreads, many hospitals are running out of ventilator masks, a crucial piece of lifesaving medical equipment. To tackle this shortage, an Italian start-up specialised in 3D printing, ISINNOVA, has found a solution to make 3D printed connectors capable of converting a snorkelling mask into a functional C-PAP mask for oxygen therapy, a critical treatment to help people with severe cases of COVID-19.

The 3D printed prototype has proven to work correctly and the start-up has freely shared the design of the prototypes so it can be replicated in other places.

“We heard about it in the media and immediately contacted them to contribute with our 3D printer to this wonderful initiative that can save lives”, assured NSPA SOC Commander Renato Lepore. “We have started the production during the weekend. It is fantastic that the experimentation was successful, as the new masks can be available for emergency situations, not only in Italy but elsewhere where needed”, he said.

Our team will be able to produce 25 connector kits every week, which will be donated to the Italian Civil Protection Department for further distribution in the most needed hospitals.

Hospital patient testing the snorkelling mask. Credits: FabFactory

“The idea is designed for healthcare facilities where it is not possible to in find official healthcare supplies” pointed ISINNOVA. Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need and requires a certified declaration by the patient.