Developing a ventilator sharing device for use in emergencies

Volunteers from the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), University of Cambridge, responded to a request from clinicians at Royal Papworth Hospital to develop a device that, if needed in an emergency, could be attached to a ventilator to enable two COVID-19 patients to receive tailored respiratory support.


The new device – which is still in testing and not yet approved for clinical use – illustrates that it is possible to split the air flow from one ventilator to mechanically support the breathing of two sedated patients with different lung capacity and changing breathing needs.


In this webinar, experts from the IfM discuss how the solution evolved and developed through collaboration with experts from Royal Papworth Hospital and Cambridge Design Partnership, with generous support from a wide selection of respiratory equipment manufacturers across the UK and the world.



  • Chinmay Patvardhan, Consultant Anaesthesia, Intensive care and ECMO at Royal Papworth Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust
  • Duncan McFarlane, Professor of Industrial Informational Engineering & Head, Distributed Information & Automation Laboratory, IfM
  • Ronan Daly, University Senior Lecturer, Science and Technology of Manufacturing, IfM
  • Cassi Henderson, Research Associate, Complex Additive Materials, IfM
  • Jonathan Cooke, Mechanical Engineer, Cambridge Design Partnership


Further resources


Ventilator sharing device resources

Find out more about the Cambridge Design Partnership, a key collaborator involved in this project.