Haply wins the CODE LiFE Ventilator Challenge
The Montreal General Hospital Foundation and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center (RI-MUHC), in partnership with the McGill Faculty of Engineering, are pleased to announce the winner team of the CODE LiFE Ventilator Challenge (CLVC): team Haply from Montreal!
The story began early March when the New York Times’s TheUpShot column ran the headline “Here’s the biggest thing to worry about the coronavirus”, and the subheading included “We don’t have enough ventilators…”. That was the catalyst for the idea that the shortage of ventilators could be addressed as a global challenge.
The CODE LiFE Ventilator Challenge was officially launched in March 2020. This two-week sprint to design a low-cost, simple, easy-to-use, and easy-to-build ventilator that could serve patients suffering from COVID-19, received more than 2,600 registrations, representing over 1,000 teams from 94 countries. On May 6, 2020, after extensive testing of their prototypes by a panel of experts, three finalist teams were chosen and financially supported to further develop their ventilator prototypes. Since being announced, the finalists have worked hard over the summer and early fall to advance their devices and connect with licensees, partners, and collaborators.
The three finalists were ranked by a team of judges consisting of world-renowned experts in mechanical ventilation and critical care, respiratory therapists with decades of experience on a variety of ventilators, medical device experts with experience in regulatory approval of mechanical ventilators, and manufacturers with extensive experience in production of mechanical ventilators. They also underwent an independent assessment for part production costs and certification. After interactions with the design teams and assessment of the devices, one team and design stood out as the most capable of meeting and exceeding the CLVC specifications and as poised to succeed in delivering an affordable device design.
The Haply design was selected on the balance of simplicity in design and operation, as well as cost of production and ease of training. In addition, the judges were impressed by the versatility and anticipated robustness of the design.
“Our experience with the Code Life Ventilator Challenge was incredibly challenging but was one of the most rewarding experiences we have gone through as a team. We were motivated by the disparities between developed and developing nations in access to essential medical technologies like ventilators which has been highlighted by COVID 19. We are incredibly grateful to the organizing committee and specifically Dr. Reza Farivar, the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, the RI-MUHC, and the McGill Faculty of Engineering for putting together such a meaningful initiative,” expressed Colin Gallacher, Co-Founder of Haply Robotics.
Thanks to the tremendous support of CODE LiFE Ventilator Challenge generous sponsors, including Scotiabank, MD Financial Management and Canadian Medical Association, McGill Engineering and Agorize, as well as some generous private individuals, Haply will now receive the rest of its $200,000 prize.
“We are pleased to support this critical initiative, in partnership with the CMA and MD Financial Management, and would like to congratulate team Haply” says Glen Gowland, Group Head, Global Wealth Management, Scotiabank. “We look forward to seeing the meaningful impact of this winning prototype in Canada and globally.”
“We have been honored to ignite such a significant global collaboration and innovation wave that has led to a better shared knowledge of what is needed to build ventilators up to the production of new devices that will be used to save lives.” said Jean-Guy Gourdeau, President & CEO of the MGH Foundation.
“McGill’s Faculty of Engineering, through its Engine Centre, was honored to provide expertise throughout the challenge by mobilizing its vast network of alumni and collaborators. This challenge showed once again the strong power of collaboration between those from engineering, medicine, and industry to create innovative and effective designs. We are proud of the winning team, Haply, and we look forward to supporting them going through the final stages of approval,” says Jim Nicell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering of McGill University.
An important contribution to health care
While our understanding of COVID and the need for ventilators has altered considerably since the start of the pandemic, the Challenge itself has been a very impactful endeavor which we want to celebrate with those who, like, our sponsors and partners, really enabled it to happen. The challenge has, inter alia:
- highlighted the power of collaboration for innovation,
- led to the creation of the CAE ventilator, which supplied 10,000 to the Canadian government. CAE have publicly credited the CLVC for being the catalyst for their ventilator initiative,
- led to the creation of three impressive prototypes, one of which stood out as the most competent in meeting and exceeding the CODE LiFE Ventilator Challenge specifications, and,
- highlighted the disparity between developed and developing countries in essential medical equipment, like ICU Ventilators.
Next steps for Haply
“We congratulate all our participants, especially our hard-working finalists, on their tremendous achievement over the past months. Now, as we celebrate the winning design, we must gather the resources to bring the Haply device to the millions around the world that have—and continue to have—limited access to mechanical ventilators,” says Prof. Reza Farivar, Leader of the CODE LiFE Ventilator Challenge and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Neuroscience at McGill University.
McGill University’s Faculty of Engineering has raised additional funds, partners, and resources under the banner of the “Made for All” initiative, with the aim of helping get the design through regulatory approval and into production at a sub $1000 price point, for low- and middle-income countries. Thanks to further support from the MGH Foundation and Joule, $300,000 has been secured, as well as new partners to provide pro-bono specialized support.