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Respiratory humidifiers are used to heat and humidify the air of patients whose breathing is assisted by a ventilator in Intensive Care Units (ICU). The air must be conditioned to 37°C and at least 90% relative humidity. Over-humidification or under-humidification can lead to blocked airways, lung damage and infection.

  • Applied Expertise
  • Research & strategy
  • Human factors
  • Industrial design
  • Packaging
  • Technology development
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electronic engineering
  • Software engineering
  • Wireless & connected
  • Short run manufacturing
  • Manufacturing processes
  • Supply chain management

Existing humidifiers suffer from condensation in the breathing circuit, which can cause the following patient safety issues:

• Infection
• Risk of drowning
• Unwanted circuit breaking
• Ventilator damage
• Interference with ventilator trigger

We developed the Hydrator, a new humidifier that delivers high humidity and is free of condensation. It runs from an electrical base unit and takes a fresh disposable breathing circuit for each patient.

The existing humidifier market is worth around $300m, yet condensation-free humidification remains an unmet need for at least half that market. The Hydrator creates an opportunity to build a valuable medical disposables business focused on improved patient safety.

For hospitals, there is a compelling health economics argument because the Hydrator does not need the daily supply of water and filters required by existing humidifiers, thus saving money.

Skills Deployed
• Identifying problems and conceptual solutions
• Engineering physics and development
• Prototyping
• Raising finance

Technical Highlights
• Small, light, inexpensive heat exchangers
• Heating and cooling systems for medical use
• Highly controlled humidity

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