3D-printed origami technology under development for improved pandemic treatment

September 28, 2021
3D-printed origami technology under development for improved pandemic treatment

Technology replicating the distinctive folding of Japanese origami craft is under development to help in the fight against COVID-19, as well as ease healthcare costs and delivery.

Currently, researchers at Canada’s Simon Fraser University (SFU) Additive Manufacturing Lab are working on a novel mechanical ventilator system that is purported to assist a person’s breathing by reliably contracting a 3D-printed origami tube rather than the conventional and size-limiting systems in use in hospitals and care facilities.

The 3D-printed design of the ventilator and lightweight materials also significantly lowers production costs, from CAD$2,000 to only CAD$200.

The development of the innovation is led by SFU School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering’s Associate professor Woo Soo Kim, who said that the small and lightweight design of their portable ventilator, combined with low production costs, makes it useful for treating COVID-19 patients or patients who need a compact and transportable device outside of hospital settings, such as in remote rural areas and developing countries.

Kim is also developing and patenting 3D origami dry electrodes that can be used to monitor patient health. The 3D origami dry electrodes can detect and monitor physiological signals, including the heartbeat, breathing, temperature, and muscle movements.

This technology is under the same intellectual property strategy of 3D printed origami technologies; Kim envisions that it could be used to assist doctors and nurses by allowing them to assess patients’ health instantly and remotely through a robot helper – useful in cases where an isolated patient has developed severe COVID-19, for example.

Read: Breakthrough 3D imaging device can scan inside blood vessels

Kim and his team are seeking investment and development partners with a goal of mass production for their portfolio of 3D origami technologies being developed at SFU.

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