Portable Oxygen for Emergency by this Start-up

The Bengaluru International Airport has become the first public space in India to have portable oxygen generator as part of its first aid.

A start-up in Tamil Nadu has developed a first of its kind portable emergency oxygen generator called “Portia” which it says would be a lifesaver during medical emergencies.

Set up in a backpack, promoters say the two canisters inside could supply four to six litres of 99.7% medical grade oxygen per minute for forty minutes, sufficient till the user or patient reaches a hospital.

The patented design and chemicals in the canister release oxygen by twist of a knob, in forty seconds. It requires no electricity and no expertise to operate.

Developed by Mr John Joy a Mechanical Engineer who was with GE Healthcare earlier, the Co-founder of O2MATic told tellmystory.in “We are trying to make this a standard part of all first aid.”

The Bengaluru International Airport has become the first public place in India to install this for passengers. “We have installed six of these now and we would have ten totally for passengers and staff” said the Spokesperson of the airport. 

Besides airports and railway stations the company is now reaching out to other public spaces and institutions like schools, colleges, malls, theatres, parks and even ambulances and homes. 

The canisters in the back pack supply medical grade oxygen for 40 minutes on a twist of a knob.

Experts say this could save lives in situations like breathlessness, heart attack, fainting etc. “This would take first aid to a new level and be a life saver” said Dr Kesavanath Balakrishnan, a Critical Care Specialist. Explaining the benefits and limitations of an oxygen cylinder and oxygen concentrator, he added “Earlier we went looking for oxygen during an emergency, now oxygen comes to you.”

The start up based in Coimbatore has the potential to manufacture 50000 units a year. The kit with two canisters costs Rs 34000. The company delivers canisters at Rs 2500 for refill and backup. “We are a ISO 13485 certified company and we are tapping markets in Europe and US as well” said Mr Sanjay Krishnan Pillai, another Co-founder. 

The company, promoters say launched its production amid the peak of the second wave when the entire country witnessed severe oxygen shortage. Ever since they have sold around 2000 units.

It was a global hackathon on medical gases that Mr John won that gave rise to this venture after which he and Sanjay joined hands at INSEAD, France while they were attending an academic programme.

A few doctors and angel investors have joined hands in this start-up largely bootstrapped and presently valued at 150 crore.


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