Inventor Ignacio Diaz Katalinic shows the two latest computer models of the ventilator. He is holding the first prototype of the machine made with a Oxy Viva pump donated by Yamba Surf Life Saving Club.
Inventor Ignacio Diaz Katalinic shows the two latest computer models of the ventilator. He is holding the first prototype of the machine made with a Oxy Viva pump donated by Yamba Surf Life Saving Club.

Yamba’s iso-invention getting a good reception in Chile

A CHILEAN industrial designer who has used his time waiting out COVID-19 in Yamba to design a low-cost ventilator, has good news from his home country about his design.

Ignacio Diaz Katalinic, who came to the region with his Clarence Valley girl friend Jemma Williams earlier this year, decided he would turn his enforced isolation to good use by working on a ventilator that could be made cheaply with locally available materials to treat coronavirus patients.

Over the past two months he has collaborated with a team in Chile on the design and on Thursday received some good news on the progress of their work.

“Yesterday the team in Chile passed some major tests, and by tomorrow we should have a letter confirming the ventilator has been approved for use in Chile,” he said.

“It’s very exciting news. We are now looking for funds and sponsorship to start manufacturing the first machines.”

Ms Williams said COVID-19 cases are increasing in Chile at an exponential rate as they go in to their winter.

“I saw a news article today that only 18 per cent of ventilators are available and they are nowhere near their peak yet,” she said.

“So we are really hoping we can start production soon and be part of the solution there.”

Ms Williams said there had also been some local interest after an article about their work in The Daily Examiner last month.

“After that article an engineering company in Yamba contacted us which was great and we have a quote from them for producing a prototype here,” she said.

“But we don’t want to go ahead and make that investment unless we can see some future for the project in Australia, where it looks like we don’t need so many ventilators anymore.”

“I am contacting a lot of people to see what opportunities there are and seeking a partnership to take it forward, but there’s nothing concrete yet.”