Emergency ventilator in record time

For the past three weeks, FFI has led a collective innovation effort that will strengthen the capacity of Norwegian hospitals. The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced on Tuesday that the initiative has succeeded.

The emergency ventilator is tested on a training dummy
The emergency ventilator during tests. Photo: Lærdal Medical

The emergency ventilator will be manufactured in Kristiansand by the Norwegian technology company Servi in collaboration with Lærdal Medical. The original idea came from technology entrepreneur Eivind Gransæther of Edge Health Technologies.

Hanne Bjørk
Director of the Innovation and Industrial Development Division, Hanne Bjørk

- We are very pleased with what we have achieved in less than three weeks. But above all, we are happy that together we have managed to come up with a solution that can help save lives if the corona pandemic exceeds the capacity of the health care system, says Hanne Bjørk, research director at FFI.

The development has involved some of Norway’s leading research and development environments, technological industrial design and medical professional environments.

FFI’s role has been to lead, coordinate and quality-assure the innovation and development process from idea to prototype, and prepare the Norwegian authorities for rapid procurement and implementation.

I am impressed with FFI’s expertise, professionalism and ability to lead a rapid innovation process with several actors in such a smooth and efficient way.

- This interdisciplinary collective innovation effort has been a good test and validation of FFI’s new concept for rapid innovation and technology development, says Bjørk.

The innovation model is basen on close and effective triangular collaboration between research, industrial actors and end users.

Effective collaboration

The corona pandemic has triggered an urgent need for ventilators worldwide, and the delivery time from manufacturers is both longer and more uncertain than usual. This emergency ventilator could strengthen the ventilator capacity of Norwegian hospitals and may save lives if a large number of patients need ventilator support at the same time due to the corona pandemic.

“It has been inspiring and educational to work so closely with FFI and the other partners in this unique development project. I am impressed with FFI’s expertise, professionalism and ability to lead a rapid innovation process with several actors in such a smooth and efficient way,” says Tore Lærdal, CEO of Lærdal Medical.

In order to further strengthen national health preparedness, the Norwegian Armed Forces Joint Medical Services is looking into the possibilities of integrating the emergency ventilators with their field hospital concept. The goal is to be able to assist if the need for intensive care beds is higher than the hospitals can offer.

“The emergency ventilator is, as the term implies, a response to support the national emergency health preparedness for COVID-19. It is designed to relieve and cover a possible shortage of full-scale ventilators,” explains FFI research director Hanne Bjørk.