The Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics at the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC CTU) is entering the fight against COVID-19. CIIRC CTU is developing a respirator prototype under the name “CIIRC RP95” at the RICAIP Centre of Excellence, funded by the EU. The goal is to develop a respirator that can be produced anywhere in the world on the principle of distributed production. That can off-set a lack of local production capacities or resources. It encourages industrial and scientific partners, companies and technically oriented research centres to participate in this endeavour to prepare a respirator for mass production. The aim is to have the respirators printed on 3D printers and be manufactured by injecting plastic into ready-made molds.
Currently, the N95 respirator provides protection for doctors & other professionals likely to be exposed to the COVID-19. There is an insufficient number of respirators available on the market. The pilot model of CIIRC CTU’s prototype CIIRC RP95 respirator is being tested. CIIRC CTU chose 3D printing with MJF technology.
The first testing has been very promising, and we are working on minor final improvements and the installation of membrane filters. Upon completion, the respirator will be tested for virus permeability & other critical parameters. Once the CIIRC RP95 prototype is complete, scientists will focus on finding ways to ensure mass production.
The CIIRC CTU initiative is open to research institutions that have two core technologies: an HP Multijet Fusion 4200 printer to print the respirator skeleton in plastic, and the Stratasys Polyjet J750 to print the longer-lasting rubber or silicone exhalation valve. Other 3D printing technologies must always be assessed individually for the air-tightness of the manufactured part and with regard to health safety. Once prepared, the respirator will be assembled with the filter element. The CIIRC RP95 can be used repeatedly and the filter material replaced. The inlet opening for the filter element can be adjusted to any shape according to the suppliers’ specifications.
Since the required equipment is not common, the CIIRC CTU team is also examining a mass-production model that will utilize a material injection mould, also printable on 3D devices. CIIRC CTU is looking for partners, especially manufacturing companies with experience in the injection-moulding process, to develop the requirements needed to design the shape of the injection mould.
Once the prototype has been tested, CIIRC CTU will share the technical specifications among partners in Europe and worldwide. It will be the first distributed production during the COVID-19 emergency. This is also the key model of cooperation targeted by the RICAIP Research Centre.
– Research and Innovation Centre on Advanced Industrial Production
Newly established international distributed research Centre of Excellence (CoE) based on a strategic partnership between four founding partners. CIIRC CTU together with CEITEC BUT (Central European Institute of the Technology Brno University of Technology). DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence). And ZeMA (Zentrum für Mechatronik und Automatisierungstechnik) seated in Saarbrücken.
RICAIP will conduct research in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics for advanced industry, evolving new manufacturing concepts for geographically distributed production and production as a service. The centre will connect testbeds in Prague, Brno, and Saarbrücken and will enable rapid adaptation of the production according to the customer’s current needs or available means of production.
RICAIP was prepared in two phases within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 WIDESPREAD Teaming Calls, whereas it was evaluated as the 2nd best project in the Teaming Phase 2 Call competition in 2019. It has been granted a subsidy in the total amount of EUR 48,25 mil. for the period 09/2019-12/2026. RICAIP is one of the largest running EU projects in the field of AI and Industry 4.0. It will also provide support for SMEs, facilitating technology and knowledge transfer from academia to industry.
Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics
A modern scientific and research institute of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC CTU), which brings together excellent research teams, young talents and unique know-how to push technological boundaries and build on the best of Czech tradition in technical education.
The focus of CIIRC CTU’s research work focuses on four basic pillars: industry, energy, smart cities and a healthy society, both in basic and applied research. CIIRC CTU was founded in 2013 starting its full operation in a newly built facility in 2017. The Institute currently has nearly 300 employees working in 8 research departments complemented by Centres and Testbed units for Industry 4.0. CIIRC CTU is a founding partner and coordinator of the RICAIP, one of the largest running EU projects in the field of AI and Industry 4.0.
CIIRC aims to concentrate on cutting-edge research in the fields of computer science, robotics, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, optimization, automated reasoning, machine perception, computer vision, intelligent, distributed and complex systems, automatic control, computer-aided manufacturing, bioinformatics, biomedicine and assistive technologies and related areas.
It is the home of two ERC grant holders in AI and three large Excellent Teams projects. This way it combines Robotics, Machine Perception, Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Automated Reasoning. Its groups have obtained research funding from Amazon, Google, Facebook, Porsche, Skoda Auto, and other companies.
CIIRC teams regularly place high in competitions ranging from Amazon Alexa Prize to autonomous car competitions and world championships in Automated Reasoning. The institute enables horizontal cooperation between individual parts (faculties and institutes) of CTU. It opens space for mutually beneficial cooperation with other universities, with the Czech Academy of Sciences, industrial companies and international institutions. It creates a unique ecosystem of academic-industrial cooperation in which it uses diversified forms of project financing from national, European and private sources. More at www.ciirc.cvut.cz.