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Vento - High Altitude Hypoxia Treatment
Industrial Design
Vento – A portable device for emergency hypoxia treatment in extreme altitudes.

Ascending to high altitudes can cause severe threats for the human body. Hypoxia, the lack of oxygen due to a low atmospheric pressure is a major danger at great heights. Millions of people live in or travel to elevated areas, means that mountain sickness due to hypoxia is a public health problem in many countries. The worst forms of mountain illness are lung and brain edemas that are life threatening and potentially fatal.

Within the last years the global trend of mountain climbing or trekking in high altitudes have led to increasing numbers of tourists in remote mountain areas. Due to a lack infrastructure and especially bad accessibility it is very challenging to support people with first aid and transport.

Vento is a compact and portable continuous positive airway pressure mask designed for emergency hypoxia treatment in high altitudes. It is designed for durability and easy usage under extreme situations and rough conditions by non-medically trained users. The product is foldable and therefore easy to stow and carry. It can be packed in a backpack for trekking tours and high-altitude expeditions. But it can also be placed at specific locations like high altitude accommodations, airports and cable car stations.

Vento enables pressure treatment on the lung which increases the blood oxygen saturation in the human body. In other words, the device enables the patient to breathe pressurized air and therefore simulates a quick descent. This can temporarily cure mountain sickness and lung edemas and helps the patient to descent to life saving lower elevations.

Master Thesis Project at Umeå Institute of Design

Core77 Design Awards 2020 - Student Winner - Commercial Equipment
Core77 Design Awards 2020 - Student Runner Up - Strategy & Research
Core77 Design Awards 2020 - Student Notable - Sports & Recreation
Core77 Design Awards 2020 - Student Notable - Health & Wellness


User centered research.
A people centered approach was utilized to experience and explore the activities and behaviors of different user groups related to mountain medicine. Interviews with mountaineers, hypoxia specialists, medical experts and onsite observations with mountain rescuers and the air ambulance provided valuable insights in order to identify the relevant design opportunity of high-altitude hypoxia treatment.
Working with experts.
The concept of Vento is based on medical research, feedback from the Eurac Research Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine in Bolzano, Italy as well as practical experiences from mountaineers. A creative evaluation workshop with Hannes Gatterer was utilized to validate the concepts, find and define use cases and get scientific background and support for my ideas.
Exploration and prototyping.
How might a portable air pressure treatment device for extreme altitudes look like?
The exploration phase was characterized by a mix of investigative sketches and prototyping with soft foam. This allowed me to try out ideas early in the process an get an understanding of feasibility, proportions and the position of split and welding lines. The prototypes also allowed me to test in real time and get valuable feedback in discussions with classmates, tutors and experts.
How does it work?
Vento is a continuous positive airway pressure mask designed for emergency hypoxia treatment in high altitude conditions. It allows the patient to breathe pressurized air in order to simulate a descent and to increase the oxygen saturation in the blood. It can temporarily cure mountain sickness and lung edemas and helps the patient to descent to life saving lower elevations. The product enables a standalone medical treatment and vital observation in severe situations. It can be intuitively operated by a colleague or climbing partner.
Reliable, standalone and repeatable.
To achieve a reliable, standalone product and system that ensures a repeatable treatment, the pressure is created manually with an air pump instead of an electrical or cartridge system.
The pump is connected to a pressure reservoir that can incubate the necessary pressure supply. A mechanical valve between the reservoir and the mask regulates the pressure within the mask and on the patient’s airway on a constant level of 200 mbar. Two optical vital sensors keep track of the blood oxygen saturation and the heart rate of the patient.
Ease of use.
Vento can be intuitively operated by a colleague or climbing partner following 4 easy steps. The device is designed to guarantee ease of use even in extreme situations. The product enables a standalone medical treatment and vital observation in severe situations. It can be intuitively operated by a colleague or climbing partner.
Vital observation.
The display in the front shows the vital data and health progress of the patient. Apart from the vital observation, the functions of the device are completely mechanical and therefore reliable in every situation even in extreme weather conditions.
Lightweight and portable.
As an outdoor device, Vento is light and space saving. Due to the inflatable pressure reservoir and the flexible air tube the product can be folded to a very a small size. Packed in the soft-shell packaging it can fit in any backpack.
Lightweight and portable.
Thanks to its portability, Vento supports people with live saving and intuitive hypoxia treatment even in the most remote areas and highest peaks on earth.
Vento - High Altitude Hypoxia Treatment
395
3.9k
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Published:

Vento - High Altitude Hypoxia Treatment

395
3.9k
17
Published: