Fluid warmers are critical for some medical applications, but commercial fluid warmers can be complicated, expensive, and come with long lead times. Boiled water is easy to obtain, and when accurately mixed and monitored with room temperature water a desired temperature can be maintained.
This project will aim to regulate the temperature of water by mixing room temperature and hot water with solenoid valves. The resulting warmed water will warm a surface on which the IV bag will sit.
There are a few main different styles of fluid warmers:
In-line: Room temperature (or colder) fluid flows through a device that heats it up as it passes through.
Easiest to use, no preheating of IV bag required.
Consistent temperature delivered.
Likely harder to assemble. May have more individual parts to source.
Most sophisticated and challenging to design and test.
Surface Heater: The IV bag sits on a warming surface that maintains the desired temperature.
Simplest design, likely easiest to 3D print and assemble.
Easy to verify correct operation.
Once an IV bag is removed the temperature gradually drops as fluid is being administered.
Oven: Fully enclosed unit that heats through ambient air.
Easy to self-monitor
Easier to scale up for more bags heating at once.
Once an IV bag is removed the temperature gradually drop as fluid is being administered.
Fluid warmers are important devices in medical facilities, but they can be difficult to get in developing areas. There is a high cost for this equipment (often thousands of dollars), and it can take a long time to obtain or replace. We’ve also seen that global issues like COVID-19 can cause serious supply chain issues on custom equipment.
The solution to these two hurdles would be a completely open source device that can be assembled by nearly anyone with easy to obtain and standard components. Any custom parts would ideally be 3D printed. This would allow the device to be largely built and assembled in the country it is to be used in. The device should be easy to assemble, without requiring any special skills or advanced tools (soldering, PCB production).
Aesthetics, user interface, and features will likely be simple in order to best accomplish the above requirements.
To reiterate, the most important metrics would be:
-ease of component sourcing and manufacturing
-short lead time
-accurate and reliable temperature monitoring and regulation