Indian Technologists Develop Smartphone-Based Portable Oxygen Kit
An easy to handle and transport, multimodal, Smartphone-based, field-portable oxygen kit has been developed by Indian technologists to provide a consistent and cost-effective oxygen supply to communities during situations like the recent COVID-19 pandemic, other medical emergencies, and high altitude-related problems.
The device can also be used by frontline workers, paramedics, fire tenders, nurses, and doctors for oxygen support and to protect health workers from the risk of breathing in contaminated air.
The smart backpack emergency oxygen concentrator, Oxygen Plus, has been designed by a Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DIPP)-recognised start-up with support from the Northeast Centre for Technology Application and Reach (NECTAR), an autonomous organisation under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Oxygen Plus is found suitable for easy transportation in the hilly terrains of the Northeast and will be manufactured in that region. The patent filing is under process.
During the pandemic, India faced an oxygen supply shortage for patients who suffered from breathlessness. Conventional oxygen support techniques for pulmonary, respiratory, and trauma patients in community outreach were time-consuming, expensive, and required sophisticated equipment and procedures. It was difficult to quickly reach them, especially in remote areas.
Considering the possibility of similar situations in the future, the start-up came up with the idea to develop a field-portable smart backpack emergency kit-based oxygen refiller, which could be linked to a monitoring mobile application for COVID-19 and other emergency life support.
The product is currently being validated, and the design is being improved.
Over the course of the pandemic, India, like many countries around the world, invested in the development and deployment of tech-enabled solutions to maintain business, education, and e-commerce operations. The country also created new innovative solutions to improve healthcare delivery services and enhance the speed of diagnosis.
Earlier in January, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology in Jodhpur (IIT-Jodhpur) developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model that can detect COVID-19 by examining the chest X-ray of patients. The team proposed a deep learning-based algorithm called COMiT-Net, which learns the abnormalities present in the chest X-ray images to differentiate between an affected lung and a non-affected lung. It can also identify infected regions of the lungs.
Many experts argue that the AI-based solution is an alternative to the regular RT PCR tests conducted across the world and can help ease the growing pressure on governments to procure testing kits and set up processing centres. Researchers have proposed a deep learning-based algorithm, COMiT-Net, which learns the abnormalities present in the chest X-ray images to differentiate between a COVID-19 affected lung and a non-COVID affected lung.
The experiment was performed with more than 2,500 chest X-ray images and achieved about 96.80% sensitivity. Since symptoms of the virus are visible on chest X-rays, it has become one of the modalities that have gained acceptance as a screening technique. The limited availability of testing kits and processing centres in remote areas has been the key motivation for researchers to find alternate testing methods that are reliable, easily accessible, and faster.
It may be noted that Oxygen remains a critical consumable resource in medical disaster management and the primary therapeutic need for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) illness.
At nearly every disaster, the logistics and planning for oxygen presents a substantial challenge. Recent hurricanes, cyclones and firestorms (California 2020) have demonstrated a vulnerability of the power grid, which is a necessity for oxygen generation.
Previous alternate care site (ACS) plans for pandemics and disasters assumed that lower acuity patients would surge into gymnasiums, churches, stadiums, or schools for minimal supportive care until discharge. However, the viral pneumonitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in patients who require high amounts of oxygen and equipment to help sustain them for a prolonged period of time.
Oxygen support, thus, has become one of the rate-limiting steps for medical care, hospitalizations, and patient discharges.