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Public Policy|Southampton

PeRSo Developing World (PeRSo-DW)

Link to Italian PeRSo-DW page
Link to Spanish PeRSo-DW page
Figure 1: Member of the PeRSo team wearing a PeRSo unit
Figure 1

Project Outline

The PeRSo-DW project aims to enable manufacture of PeRSo devices so personal respirators can be made more widely available by local manufacturers to healthcare professionals in as many parts of the world as possible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognise that availability and type of components will vary from country to country, as often what can be sourced in a country will depend on a number of factors including: trade links, local industry, regulatory environment, climate and cultural differences. We have provided an open specification of our prototype as a starting point for local manufacturers to adapt for themselves depending on availability and type of components, especially in resource-poor parts of the world.

The PeRSo-DW project is run by a small team of University of Southampton researchers whose primary aim is to help facilitate open innovation across a community of manufacturers in UN Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Developing Economies and to enable sharing of best practice, modifications and innovations. This community of practice will facilitate devices to be safely developed in the most affordable way to meet the local needs. Some of this innovation will no doubt also be of use to many other countries around the world.  

Figure 2: Description of PeRSo components
Figure 2

The key elements of the prototype respirator are: A fan, a filter, rechargeable batteries, tubing and a hood with a visor (Figure 1 and 2). We built our original PeRSo prototype from off-the-shelf components in the UK (Figure 3 and 4), but these supplies are specific and finite, with a limited supply chain. Therefore, innovative alternative solutions need to be investigated and then produced in maximum quantities to provide respirator protective equipment (RPE) and also protect the limited resource of disposable personal protective equipment (PPE).

The original PeRSo prototype design specification can be found here. For LDCs we will make available updates, innovations and guidance shared with us by the local manufacturers, research community, design experts etc., and with inputs from frontline healthcare workers. These might include approaches to using different fan types, filters, hood materials and alternative adaptors. Where possible, we will also provide relevant links on the product safety regime, regulatory approvals, device and manufacture standards and possibly even guidance on implementation protocols in various countries. 

Figure 3: Centrifugal
Figure 3

Please note that we can only facilitate you in your endeavours to manufacture your own respirators by posting the open innovation ideas from a community of practice for modifications to our prototype and relevant information. 

We ask anyone manufacturing RPE based on the PeRSo prototype to ensure the safety aspects are taken seriously. We have undertaken some preliminary tests, such as bacterial filtration, a smoke test, and the “sniff” test used for validating FFP3/N95 face masks, which the prototype passed. However, more tests are needed by manufacturers in the UK before sale.  Further validation and quality assurance will be needed for each locally produced model. It is important to ensure that any RPE device you develop and manufacture is safe to use, effective and is not a source of, and does not contribute to, further spreading of COVID-19. Manufacturers must comply with the local regulatory guidance where the equipment will be used, however we will aim to provide links to different respirator guidance in other parts of the world where possible.

Figure 4: Headtop
Figure 4

If you do successfully make a respirator, please share your design with the PeRso community by uploading a video to YouTube and then emailing the link to We will then generate a collation of links to third-party content so people can identify solutions that may be applicable to their individual circumstances.

Link to the PeRSo main page
PeRSo main page

Original Open Access Papers

NB: The University cannot accept responsibility for external websites

Link to open access paper
Link to open access paper
Link to open access paper: A Personal Respirator Specification for Health-care Workers Treating COVID-19 (PeRSo)
Link to open access paper
Link to open access paper: Personal Respirators for Population Level Control of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Link to open access paper
Link to open access paper
Link to open access paper
Link to how to document: Making and Testing a PeRSo Air-purified Respirator
Link to how to document

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader

Please acknowledge the University Hospital Southampton Infection Prevention Team as the original source when using or adapting the above.

Instructional Videos

NB: The University cannot accept responsibility for external websites

Introduction to PeRSo

Dr Nitin Mahobia presents the key features of the PeRSo ahead of roll out at Southampton General Hospital.

Watch video

Donning and Doffing Protocol

This video demonstrates the preparation, donning, doffing and cleaning protocols for the PeRSo respirator.

Watch video

PeRSo in the News

BBC South, 19 January 2021

PeRSo Respirator rolled out nationally

Watch video

5 News, 19 May 2020

Southampton hospital innovating to keep virus at bay.

Watch video

BBC South Today, 24 April 2020

PeRSo respirator PPE introduced on hospital wards.

Watch video

Times News, 1 April 2020

A look at a prototype PPE unit for NHS workers treating coronavirus patients, developed by the University of Southampton.

Watch video

BBC South Today, 1 April 2020

New PPE in development at University of Southampton for frontline healthcare staff.

Watch video
Photo montage of the University of Southampton PeRSo team
Montage by Antonio de Grazia


We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the PeRSo-DW team members.

University of Southampton team: Antonio De Grazia, Alex Dickinson, Laura Diment, Paul Elkington, Diana Garay-Baquero, Ric Gillams, Alexandra Mant, David Marshall, Mark Mavrogordato, Roel Mingels, Hywel Morgan, Philippa Reed, Constantinos Regas, Sebastian Rosini, Clint Styles and Liku Tezera.

Intellectual Property

The University of Southampton has made the PeRSo prototype design an open specification under the CC BY 4.0 licence terms. We do not want to delay anyone developing a respirator protective equipment in their own country, as time is critical. All that we ask is that if you do develop a respirator with assistance from the project, you acknowledge “PeRSo” as the conceptual origin, and also email us so that we can track the locations where this has been taken up. This may also help us secure funding to increase the support that we can provide to LDC countries through this project.

Good luck in making your respirators, we hope what we post helps you develop your own local solution. We believe that having the protection a PeRSo integrated facemask provides from airborne infection will help as many healthcare workers as possible to remain healthy for the duration of the pandemic so they can care for others during this time and beyond.

We have already had considerable interest from all parts of the world and in anticipation of your queries we have developed some answers to FAQs. You will find these FAQs below along with the warning & disclaimer sections, which are important for you to understand before you proceed.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will be adding to these FAQs regularly, so if these FAQs do not yet answer your questions, please keep an eye out for updates here. For update alerts, please register here. We have received large volumes of enquiries about PeRSo already, and therefore we request that only manufacturers, funders and organisations such as hospitals, NGOs, and governmental representatives contact us with further queries at this stage, using the email address.

Can I make a PeRSo for myself?

Whilst the PeRSo prototype is an open specification we do not recommend individuals build their own device based on this prototype or other information made available on this website. You may increase your risk of contamination from COVID-19, rather than protect yourself which we want you to avoid. Our Warning and Disclaimer above sets out some of the reasons why we recommend you source from a reputable manufacturer who should have undertaken the necessary validation and safety checks. They should also give you information on how to properly use such devices.

Can we manufacture, assemble and supply PeRSo in a developing country?

The PeRSo prototype is an open specification, so we welcome manufactures with the suitable skills to develop, quality assure and produce products like this to take this forward in their local country or region. Please bear in mind the warning and disclaimers we have set out above.

Do tell us what you are doing and consider making your manufacturing specification available as an open innovation. Give us permission to include your information on this website so we can enable local component manufacturers and even potential customers, such as health care organisations, to contact you directly.

I am a manufacturer. How can I access designs and details of the parts?

The technical details of the PeRSo prototype developed at the University of Southampton are available in the paper, “A Personal Respirator Specification for Health-care Workers Treating COVID-19 (PeRSo)”, freely available at In addition, further information will be added to our website as we continue our development work. If you would like to receive an email alert when new information is added, such as testing of different components, please register here.

We can manufacture parts. How can we help?

If you are manufacturing components that a lead manufacturer or product assembler might want, first check on the country information to see whether we have supplied details of local manufacturers. Where we have been unable to do so, please let us know and we will try and link you locally.

Can you help me to link with other manufacturers/NGO/charities interested in the PeRSo project in my region?

We are continuously collecting interest from many countries. Please contact us at and we will try to link you with people and organisations in your region who have expressed interest in PeRSo.

How should I share my modifications and innovations on the PeRSo prototype?

We would love to hear about your work on PerSo-DW. Please email us to if you would be happy for us to share your innovations on our website.

I am adapting PeRSo to be produced in my country with locally available parts. How I can I make sure it is safe to use?

When manufacturing PeRSo-DW devices, you must make sure you comply with all appropriate regulatory approvals in your country. The PeRSo Open Specification paper gives examples of the test Standards we have used, that you might consider. However, more tests are being undertaken by manufacturers here in UK. Manufacturers will need to set their own validation and safety checks, complying with the local regulations and requirements for this type of equipment.

Where and when can I buy a PeRSo in my country?

The University of Southampton has developed the prototype only, and will not be manufacturing, supplying or delivering RPE to any country. We will list information on local manufacturers under the country information above as we become aware of them. Only the manufacturers can advise on how quickly they can make these available to you.

I am a governmental agency/NGO/charity and I would like to buy PeRSo. Can you advise how to proceed with this purchase?

PeRSo is currently a prototype and cannot be purchased from the University of Southampton. The University will not be manufacturing, distributing or selling PeRSo, but we are in active communication with potential manufacturers who will bring the product to market. INDO, the current UK manufacturer, is listed on the main website, and we will add further manufacturers if they gain regulatory approval. Please register interest through the link below if you would like further updates. The expectation is that in country and local manufacturers are likely to target sales at a national / organisational level for healthcare workers, and it is unlikely that sales will be made to individuals / consumers. We aim to list details of local manufacturers as we become aware of them.

How do you recommend removing and cleaning PeRSo devices to avoid contamination?

We recommend applying the specialist infection control procedures set by your local hospitals and/or infection control experts. Hood type respirators require different protocols from mask-type respirators for decontamination, for both putting the device on and taking it off, and health care staff training is necessary to avoid inadvertent contamination. Wherever respirators are deployed, these protocols must be developed to ensure you are compliant with local rules. We would suggest ‘doffing stations’ for removal of respirators could be established, where healthcare workers are assisted with removal by support staff also wearing adequate PPE. We do not recommend spraying the device directly with cleaning fluid, in case it causes contaminated particles to become airborne. The cleaning regime to be adopted in hospitals here in UK has not been confirmed or validated, but we will endeavour to share best practices adopted by others when we can.


PeRSo is a prototype and the Specification is for information purposes only. It has not been properly tested for safety, efficacy or durability whether for single, multiple or repeated use. We have not obtained CE certification, regulatory approval or validated PeRSo units as a whole, and/or the constituent components, so as to comply with the relevant Standard for personal respiratory equipment. Final quality assured PeRSo units intended use is in a health care setting. PeRSo should not be used in an industrial or manufacturing environment, drilling, welding, close to flames, chemicals or fumes or otherwise where existing, if similar looking, products would be more suitable.

Individuals should not rely on the information in this specification and attempt to self-assemble their own PeRSo. They should seek to purchase a quality assured PeRSo device from a reputable manufacturer who provides safety warnings, instructions, guarantees and has effective product liability insurance in place. There is an increased risk of contamination by individuals untrained in specialist donning, doffing and cleaning protocols. Any individual’s use of self-made PeRSo is entirely at their own risk.

Manufacturers taking forward the production of PeRSo do so at their own risk. Manufacturers will need to develop their own manufacturing specification and undertake or obtain the necessary quality assurance, regulatory approvals, CE marking and/or compliance to the appropriate Standard prior to supplying or selling any PeRSo or releasing onto the market. Manufacturers should also undertake their own intellectual property freedom to operate checks and have in place appropriate product liability insurance.

Organisations using PeRSo or related devices should establish careful protocols for “donning”, “doffing” and cleaning to prevent these devices being a source of contamination to individuals.



The Specification for the PeRSo Prototype and any information provided on this website and linked pages is provided “AS IS”. The University of Southampton gives no assurance, guarantee or warranty, express or implied, that any PeRSo device manufactured or assembled following this specification: will be safe to use; will be of merchantable quality; will be fit for any particular purpose; will protect individuals from contracting COVID-19 or any other infectious disease or virus whilst using it; or that individuals using it will not suffer personal injury or death. The University of Southampton does not warrant or in any way assert that the manufacture, sale or use of PeRSos will not infringe the intellectual property of any other person or organization. The University of Southampton hereby disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, and excludes, to the maximum extent permitted by law, any and all liability for any loss, harm, damage, injury or death suffered by any person caused by, or resulting from, their reliance on the information, designs and Specifications provided.

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