enter awards




Category Winner


Galway Ventshare


Design Partners

Peter Murphy



Healthcare & Medical Products

Product Design


Eugene Canavan ( Design Partners ), Peter Bevan ( Design Partners ), Terence Kealy ( Design Partners ), Tim Jones (NUIG), Jack Connolly (NUIG), Dr. David Hannon (Galway University Hospital), Professor John Laffey (Galway University Hospital), BioInnovate, Saolta, Intersurgical Ireland. App Design. Smart Sensors Lab, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology ( GMIT ), Brandt Studios, Sharkey Consulting, Steris, Sensirion and Nickolay

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

In the fight against COVID-19, the scenario of not having enough ventilators to treat patients is a nightmare situation. A healthcare system becoming overwhelmed is an exponential threat to life. Some of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world are estimated to be under-resourced by 30 to 50% due to the spike in ICU ventilator need. The problem with healthcare systems in developing countries is even more profound. The big challenge of ventilator splitting is that patients have varying requirements for air pressure, flow, and volume, which cannot all be met using a single machine.

The Galway VentShare system provides a solution to increase ventilator capacity in these dire life-threatening situations. The solution potentially doubles the world ventilator numbers and dramatically improve patient access to care and recovery. The beauty of this solution is that all the components exist as medical-grade accessories and are freely available.

How the brief was fulfilled

The Galway VentShare system has been conceived as part of the response to worldwide equipment shortages due to COVID-19. Having the VentShare system available is a way of addressing the need to have additional mechanical ventilators immediately available over the short to medium term. The critical-care focused invention is also a means of extending existing ICU capacity if a national health system is overwhelmed due to a COVID-19 spike.

Working with a team from NUIG, led by Tim Jones and Jack Connolly, alongside Dr David Hannon and Professor John Laffey from Galway University Hospital, we all voluntarily collaborated to find a solution to this problem; potentially doubling world ventilator numbers to dramatically improve access to care and patient recovery.

The central challenge of sharing a mechanical ventilator is how to address the different breathing needs of two patients from one ventilation source. This challenge has been overcome by introducing two APLs or adjustable pressure limiting valves. By adjusting these APLs, the flow of air from the ventilator to each patient can be regulated. Separate flow meters then gauge how much air is reaching each patient. Each flow meter is controlled by a separate touch screen running specially designed software. The user, by a series of adjustments on the main ventilator screen and two additional touch screens, can adjust and regulate the follow of oxygen to each patient. Therefore, both patients are guaranteed to get the correct amount of oxygen. The system is supported by custom software to minimise risk and simplify usability. VentShare has been rigorously tested on sophisticated ICU ventilator systems and older anaesthetic machines. While intended to be used as a last resort, the invention is robust for use with ventilators capable of providing a pressure control mode.

The VentShare system is available now, free of charge and open source. All the components are freely available accessories that are common in any hospital, or freely available at low cost to any hospital. All supporting materials such as software, user manuals, risk analysis and test data are available to download from the supporting VentShare website. http://www.galwayventshare.com/


This is a direct Design response to the challenge of treating patients in the COVID pandemic. Designers and clinicians collaborated to find a solution that could transform critical last-resort situations across the globe using Open Source technology. Using Universal Design principles of today’s interconnected world, it was a powerful example of Design and Science working together to save the lives of many without profit



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