Published: 16th April 2020
This IIT Roorkee alumnus is developing a helmet-based respirator that can curb COVID-19 infection risk. Here's how
Shellios, founded by IIT Roorkee Alumnus Amit Pathak, is developing a Powered Air Purifying Respirator which can be used by health workers, doctors to counter infection in the hospital premises
Shellios, a smart helmets start-up, founded by IIT Roorkee Alumnus Amit Pathak, is developing a Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) which can be used by health workers and doctors to counter the COVID-19 infection in the hospital premises.
Shellios founder and IIT Roorkee alumnus Amit Pathak says that the severity and rapid spread was not predicted by them until the complete lockdown was imposed. With the country at a standstill, people stuck at their houses, Shellios started conceptualising two COVID solutions in order to help the frontline workers. The Powered Air Purifying Respirator is based on a similar model they had used to create the smart helmets. "The smart helmet already had a filter, a stand, battery inside it, we had designed it for bike riders, but now we decided to adapt it for healthcare workers," says Amit.
Explaining how it works, the entrepreneur says that the air purification device developed by them gets attached to the belt of the nurse or paramedical personnel and then a hose comes out and attaches itself to the helmet, hood, or protective shield they are already wearing or using for protection. The respirator gets mounted on that. "It will also have a power supply button to switch on the device. We are designing it in such a way that it doesn't only kill bacteria or particulate matter but also removes the Coronavirus and halts it from entering through the air passage," adds Amit. The frontline workers are experiencing severe levels of viral loads and there are substantial chances they might get affected easily, so to help them fight this, the Shellios team is creating this respirator. "The air delivery passage gets purified and the risk for infection is mitigated. It is a life-saving, high-quality protective equipment," he exclaims.
Speaking about how they came up with this device, Amit says they began exploring the areas of application and found that there's a shortage of variety of protective equipment countrywide as well as worldwide. "There are companies making masks, other personal protective equipment, but very few who are doing a product like this with high-grade purification in a compact manner. We are working on this so that it can be commercialised soon," he says. His team of experts developing the product consists of people expert in mechanical conceptualisation and design, experienced in electronic systems, assembly of the whole thing, contract manufacturing partners who will produce these in their factories as it requires a specific physical infrastructure to produce. The respirator is still in the design and development phase. It will take another two months to head into the market, says the IIT Roorkee alumnus.
Shellios is also separately working on another model of low-cost respiratory aid. A low-cost, portable ventilator to be used in ICUs, says Amit, for which the first working prototype has been made with commonly available industrial supplies because currently, most manufacturers are facing a dearth of raw materials. "We are working with limited resources and contacting manufacturing partners for this device," he adds.
The smart health (Pic: Amit Pathak)
Founded in August 2017, Shellios is credited with the creation of a unique smart helmet that has an integrated air purification system to help bikers, people travelling outside save themselves from air pollution and vehicular emissions. The helmet was ideated in the winter of 2016 when the air pollution situation became worse and resulted in the infamous Delhi smog. "People began buying masks, air purifiers and in that instance, we started thinking that the urban middle/high-class people can go inside their houses and switch on the purifiers and conditioners but what about the others on the roads, the ones who cannot afford to stay at home? They are exposed to vehicular emissions and not just particulate matter. To solve this we created the smart helmets. It is completely Indian made and not copied or inspired from international models. The Government had also certified those helmets for usage by the public," says the IIT Roorkee alumnus.