Home » News & Articles » 2021 » King's Engineers design and build affordable ventilator

King's Engineers design and build affordable ventilator

James Taylor is one of a number of King's Fellows and graduate students who have been building a ventilator system that can be manufactured and maintained in low and middle-income countries.
James demonstrating the ventilator on BBC Look East

King's Fellow James Taylor is one of a number of engineers who have been building a ventilator system that can be manufactured and maintained in low and middle-income countries. The device, which featured on BBC Look East yesterday, is designed to be robust, affordable and easy to manufacture, with the intention that it can be made by large in-country engineering companies around the world.

Although James is more accustomed to working on jet engines, his work at the Whittle Lab now feeds into the Open Ventilator System Initiative (OVSI) that has been created to enable the mass production of ventilators to overcome worldwide shortages. 

Since the first prototype was developed and completed (within just four days) on 30th March, further improvements have been made to the OVSI ventilator and the latest iteration is today being driven by James to the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington to be verified by an independent body. Once approved, the ventilator will be manufactured by Prodrive Motorsport, a UK company that usually makes racing cars, and South African firm Defy, who will help meet growing demand in sub-Saharan Africa.

The ventilator has involved a host of King's Fellows and graduate students who have all helped bring the project to fruition:

Engineering Fellow Nick Atkins has designed and built the electronic circuits for both prototypes, while King's PhD student Hans Verschueren​ has been leading the work on certification for both the UK, FDA and South African systems. Fellow Chez Hall, also based in the Whittle Lab, has been helping with the project as well.

At Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Fellow Geoff Moggridge has been organising injection moulding companies and will use his equipment to help with the mass manufacture in South Africa. His PhD student Ruhi Patel has been researching and specifying suitable materials for the system.

The OVSI team have also created this video explanation of how their ventilator works.

Similar Entries


King's alumnus elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Chai Keong Toh (KC 1993) is one of only four new International Fellows to be elected to the Academy this year.


King’s Bye-Fellow elected Fellow of The Academy of Medical Sciences

Dr Fiona Godlee has been recognised for her remarkable contributions to advancing biomedical and health sciences.


King's Fellow awarded RAeS Medal

Dr James Taylor has been awarded the Bronze Medal from the Royal Aeronautical Society for his work on jet engine technology.


New composition by King's Fellow to be broadcast in 27 countries

A new orchestral piece by King's Fellow Richard Causton was one of just two pieces selected by BBC Radio 3 to represent the UK at the International Rostrum of Composers.


King’s Fellow to fund new support for economically disadvantaged students

A gift from Professor Simon Goldhill is establishing a new fund to support undergraduate students at King’s.


New research from King's Fellow sheds light on killer T cells

Gillian Griffiths and her team have discovered how T cells are able to replenish their ability to destroy cancer cells.


King's Fellow wins International Studies Association book prize

Mira Siegelberg has been awarded the Francesco Guicciardini Prize for Best Book in Historical International Relations.


King's Fellow receives award for cosmology paper

Anne Davis and her co-authors have been awarded 3rd prize in the Buchalter Cosmology Prize for their paper on the detection of dark energy

Follow us on Instagram

View more