Dyson’s $25m CoVent project no longer needed by UK government

27 Apr 2020

Image: © eqroy/Stock.adobe.com

James Dyson said the UK government no longer needs the CoVent ventilators that it asked the firm to develop last month.

In late March, the UK government ordered 10,000 ventilators from household appliance business Dyson. In response, the company said that it was designing and manufacturing a new ventilator prototype, entitled CoVent.

On Friday (24 April), Dyson said that the UK government no longer needs the ventilator, which the company has spent $25m (£20m) developing. The device is still awaiting regulatory approval.

Future Human

In a statement, company founder James Dyson said: “Mercifully they are not required, but we don’t regret our contribution to the national effort for one moment.

“I have some hope that our ventilator may yet help the responses in other countries, but that requires further time and investigation.”

The CoVent project

According to Reuters, Dyson said his company would not accept any public money for the work that went into developing CoVent.

The billionaire entrepreneur said in March that UK prime minister Boris Johnson had asked for the development of machines to treat patients with severe cases of Covid-19. Ventilators help patients to breathe so that their bodies can focus on recovering from the condition.

The CoVent ventilator attached to the site of a bed.

The bed-mounted CoVent device. Image: Dyson

The CoVent devices were based on existing Dyson technology and were designed in partnership with Cambridge-based science engineering firm TTP, in order to ensure they were safe, effective, efficient in conserving oxygen and portable.

The battery-powered CoVent machine could be bed-mounted and did not require a fixed air supply. Dyson said that this made the machine suitable in transit and in field hospitals, as well as traditional hospital settings.

The company initially planned to manufacture 10,000 CoVent devices for the UK, and donate 5,000 internationally.

Other efforts to build ventilators

Around the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increased demand for ventilators.

In Ireland, Medtronic announced last month that it would be doubling its Galway workforce to increase production of ventilators during this crisis. The company later shared the design specifications for one of its ventilators to help other manufacturers to ramp up production.

Irish engineers have also launched the Open Source Ventilator project with the goal of developing an accessible piece of medical equipment that could be “built anywhere and by anyone”.

In the UK, a group of companies including Airbus and Ford has been working to build 20,000 machines for the government.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic