Only UK contestant

Scots pod designer in global contest to invent ventilator

Ross Hunter

Ross Hunter: I enjoy tinkering (pic: Terry Murden)

A Scottish design engineer has been selected as the only UK finalist in a global challenge to invent a ventilator to help Covid-19 sufferers.

Ross Hunter, chief executive of outdoor pod and garden office manufacturer Armadilla, is one of seven finalists from more than 200 entries and is up against teams from such places as Stanford University.

The Bonnyrigg-based businessman and engineer is the only shortlisted contestant outside north or south America to reach the finals of the CoVent-19 competition.

The Innovate2Ventilate brief was to develop low-cost, readily deployable mechanical ventilators for use, not only in first world countries, but also developing countries.

If Mr Hunter with his newly-formed Team Armadilla win the competition, the prototype will be made by partners to help Covid-19 sufferers in any part of the world. Once manufactured, his CORE Vent product would be available for a fraction of the cost of current ventilators.

Ventilator prototype

It is the latest accolade for Mr Hunter whose firm last month received the the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for its Hotelier Pod, a luxury outdoor living accommodation unit that incorporates high-tech hardware and software developed in-house.

Armadilla is currently on lockdown, so Mr Hunter, who is also head of design and development at the firm, decided to enter the CoVent 19 Challenge and in just three weeks he developed a prototype and 3D models for his CORE Vent product.

Mr Hunter is now working on the next stage of the challenge to refine the ventilator and submit working prototypes by 21 June. He has put together a team of Armadilla employees to meet the deadline and the firm is also assisting by providing such things as a working space, tools and materials.

He said: “I’m still taking in the news that I’ve reached the finals of the challenge up against such strong international competition. I’m pleased to have been able to use my design skills and experience in such a worthwhile way while my own family business.

“I studied mechanical engineering and product design and have always enjoyed tinkering  and inventing. I’m fortunate to have Armadilla’s facilities to develop concepts and flesh out ideas, such as my concept for a new ventilator. Everything we do at Armadilla is creative and innovative; we thrive on disruptive innovation.

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