'Cool' PPE Kits for Corona Warriors, thanks to Student Innovator from Mumbai

Press Release


Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. For the student innovator, Nihaal Singh Adarsh from Mumbai, his doctor mother’s necessity became the fount of inspiration for his invention. Named Cov-Tech, the compact and frugal innovation is a ventilation system for PPE kits, bringing much-needed relief for our healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle.


Cov-Tech: Promising a Totally Different and ‘Cool’ PPE Experience


A gratified Nihaal, a second-year student of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, spoke to PIB, explaining the experiential difference Cov-Tech makes to the Corona Warrior wearing the PPE: “Cov-Tech Ventilation System is like you are sitting under the fan even while you are inside the PPE suit. It takes the surrounding air, filters it and pushes it into the PPE suit. Normally, due to lack of ventilation, it is hot and humid within the PPE suit; our solution offers a way out of this uncomfortable experience, by creating a steady airflow inside." The design of the ventilation system ensures a complete air seal from the PPE kit. It provides a breeze of fresh air to the user in a gap of just 100 seconds.


In Search of a User-Friendly Design: From The First Prototype to The Final Product


The design challenge led Nihaal to work on the first prototype. With guidance from Dr Ulhas Kharul of National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, Nihaal was able to develop the first model in 20 days. Dr Ulhas runs a start-up that researches a membrane to filter air, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. From here, Nihaal got the idea about what type of filter he should use, to achieve an optimum balance between filtration efficiency and airflow quality.

It helped that he got support from Somaiya Vidyavihar University’s RIIDL (Research Innovation Incubation Design Laboratory), supported by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.

After more than 6 months of hard work, the initial prototype emerged. It was neck-mounted, sucking in air through U-shaped air inlets, and had pillow-like structures which could be worn around the neck.

Nihaal gave it to Dr Vinayak Mane of Pune for testing. “We wanted this prototype to be tested by some unbiased doctors and hence approached Dr Vinayak Mane. He pointed out that wearing it around the neck will be a big discomfort for doctors and health care workers, due to the constant sound and vibration the device emitted. So, we discarded the prototype and started working on further designs.” Nihaal informs PIB that they kept trying out new designs, intending to create a prototype that does not obstruct the work of Health Care Workers in any way.


The Final Prototype: As Simple as a Belt

As per the final design, the product can be worn around the waist, just like a belt. It can be attached with the conventional PPE kits. This design serves two purposes:

Keeps the health workers well-ventilated, while preventing bodily discomfort
Keeps them safe from various fungal infections

Since the ventilator is worn close to the body, high-quality components have been used and safety protection measures have also been taken care of, informs Nihaal.  “When I told my mom that I am going to file a patent for this product, she was very happy. Being a General Physician, my mother uses it whenever she goes out for work.” The system comes with a lithium-ion battery which lasts for 6 to 8 hours.

Source: PIB, Press release