IISER Bhopal Innovators develop Oxycon: An affordable oxygen concentrator to address the unmet Oxygen demand amid the second wave of COVID-19

Bhopal: Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal Innovators have developed a one-of-its-kind oxygen concentrator – Oxycon, to bring a solution to tackle the oxygen shortage crisis amid the second wave of COVID-19.

Unlike the first wave of COVID-19, the second wave has hit the surface very hard. The spread has been recorded significantly high and many of the affected need emergency oxygen support. Hence, hospitals all across the nation are in need of oxygen cylinders/ concentrators and the demand has spiked in a very short time.

Dr. Mitradip Bhattacharjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and Dr. Venkateshwar Rao, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, along with Dr. P.B. Sujit and Dr. Santanu Talukdar from EECS Department, have developed this affordable device that can be used if a patient needs oxygen support at any stage during the ailment.

Appreciating the innovators’ efforts Prof. Siva Umapathy, Director, IISER Bhopal, said, “The device Oxycon has been developed using the open-source technology and material that has helped us to develop the device at low cost, and therefore once approved, it can be used anywhere from small villages to big cities due to its affordability.”

“In the past year, IISER Bhopal has developed products such as crowd and mask monitoring device, and now Oxycon to meet the oxygen demands. In addition, the Institute has got leads in drug repurposing research that finds the potential drug to be tested for the COVID-19 treatment, and another lab at the institute has developed the assays to measure antibody titers against SARS Coronavirus-2. The institute is open to collaborating with industries and other organizations to bring COVID-19 solutions and related inventions that address unmet needs for the benefit of the people of India”, added Prof. Umapathy.

The developed device is portable, customizable, and easy to deploy. It has a compressor that takes ambient air and passes it through columns having material named zeolite under an optimized pressure. Two such columns are used in alternate cycles and electronically controlled valves are used for this purpose to make it automatic and provide a continuous oxygen supply. The material, zeolite, absorbs nitrogen from the air and throws it back to the atmosphere, hence the concentration of oxygen increases in the air at the outlet. The valve controls are achieved using a programmed microcontroller based circuit.

Speaking about further improving and commercializing the innovation, Dr. Mitradip Bhattacharjee, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, IISER Bhopal, said, “This system prototype has already been developed and compared with the commercial systems currently available at the market and we have received positive outcomes. We are actively looking for industrial collaborations to further improve and manufacture the system at a larger scale and to deploy it after necessary testing and approvals.”

 

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