Personal Protective Equipment

This page provides an overview of the PPE projects developed by CMI in response to these challenges, representing the continually evolving understanding of how to best protect health care professionals from novel coronavirus and better control its transmission.

PPE Projects:

Improvised PAPR
PAPR adapters

Reusable Face Shield

Helmet Droplet Containment 
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IMPROVISED POWERED AIR PURIFYING RESPIRATOR (PAPR)

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CHALLENGE

A standard piece of PPE for health care professionals when treating patients with infectious aerosols, PAPRs provide those wearing the system a constant flow of clean air and protect them from inhaling aerosolized COVID-19 particles. However, due to the specialized nature of the equipment, hospitals typically have a limited quantity of the systems on-hand at any given time. Facing a potential surge of COVID-19 patients, hospitals are finding traditional PAPR suppliers are unable to meet the overwhelming demand.

RESPONSE

The CMI designed an improvised PAPR system using off-the-shelf components. Utlizing readily available components such as mobile battery packs, portable fans, and several 3D printed components, the CMI improvised PAPR achieves a Fit Factor of greater than 1000. Additional adapters have been designed to connect the improvised PAPR system with alternative hood designs, snorkel masks, and earlier generation PAPR models, expanding the supply of PAPRs on-hand

PROJECT STATUS

Since developing an effective system design, CMI has manufactured and distributed hundreds of improvised PAPRs to the University of Utah hospital and clinics system, including 115 units provided to members of the Navajo Nation for use among health care providers of the Indian Health System. Partners in Bangladesh, Kenya, and India have all adopted the system design for immediate use. CMI is able to produce additional units upon request, and provide instructions for assembly to local, regional, national, and or international partners.

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PAPR ADAPTER FOR RETRO-FITTING

 

CHALLENGE

As hospitals brace for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients, all options to expand the supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are being explored. This includes retrofitting older pieces of still viable equipment to the newer systems. As PAPR systems have the benefit of being reusable and can drastically cut down on the consumption of single-use PPE, methods to expand the supply of PAPRs on-hand is high-priority. 

RESPONSE

The CMI engineering team designed a specialized adapter to connect older models of PAPR helmets in stock to the respirator systems currently used with newer models. Several prototypes were 3D printed at CMI lab to be evaluated by hospital staff, and a final design was chosen for immediate production. 

PROJECT STATUS

Several hundred of the custom 3D printed adapters have been produced and are currently in-use to connect older models of PAPR helmets to the filtration equipment on newer models. 

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REUSABLE FACE SHIELD 

 Reusable open-source PPE face shield

CHALLENGE

An increased demand of reusable PPE for all health care providers created a widespread shortage of face shields from traditional providers.

RESPONSE

CMI worked in collaboration with local manufacturers to develop over 30 prototype face shield designs to be used by front line health care providers.

PROJECT STATUS

A final face shield design was ultimately selected, and thousands of units were produced, adopted by both University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare.

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PAC-12 FOOTBALL HELMET DROPLET CONTAINMENT 

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CHALLENGE

As part of the pandemic, the PAC 12 was concerned about the risk of spreading COVID-19 on the football field. Close contact between players, particularly lineman could increase the likelihood of transmission via droplets.

RESPONSE

The CMI, Dr. Biggs, and Dr. Reddy set up two test systems to determine effectiveness of proposed PPE for football players including cloth facemasks, neck gaiters, and transparent shielding attached to the helmet’s facemask. These two tests measured both droplets spray and aerosols. Ultimately, the proposed PPE proved very effective for providing a 97% reduction for droplets, but showed no reduction of aerosol containment

PROJECT STATUS

A white paper written by Dr. Biggs with recommendations was submitted to the PAC 12 about the proposed PPE and the on-field risks. The PAC-12 has returned to in-conference games at this time.

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