Open source medical ventilator

As epidemic progresses potential need for emergency ventilators became obvious. After fielding and eventually dismissing “easy fix” ideas, such as the Ambu bag automation or multiple patients per ventilator, we fortunately got in contact with the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Czech Technical University, specifically with a group of people who have spent years working on various ventilator designs.

We quickly focused our efforts on creating a support network for their work – to allow the opportunity for their designs to materialize, all the while enlisting the help of leading engineering companies and component manufacturers to assist.

Design

The design requirements as previously set out were (in no particular order):
  • Use of generally (and globally) available, or easy-to-manufacture parts (100s available in the CZ within a matter of a week as we are planning for that level of manufacturing volumes), and we are designing for global availability
  • Compatibility with hospital systems and consumable materials (masks, filters, connection to air and oxygen distribution, etc.)
  • Compliance with all essential safety requirements (from safe oxygen handling to, of course, protection of the patient, but also splash down requirements and resistance to expected handling in the hospital or emergency environment)
  • User interface familiar to the staff to minimize training requirements
  • Focus on functionality required specifically for COVID-19 treatment (not trying to build a “universal” ventilator)
  • Simple assembly in order to reduce need for specialized training for workers
  • Potential independence on hospital systems (ability to run on bottled oxygen and “regular” filtered compressed air), as Italy experienced failures of the hospital systems due to overloads (freezing of the oxygen distribution components for example)

    During the design process, new information, such as the UK released instructions were taken into consideration. We are in touch with Czech regulatory authorities and the government in order to approve the use of the device under emergency rules when available. The device will fully comply with EU Commision Recommendation.

    Status

    As of today (March 23rd), we have the materials list and individual components have been tested, and we are designing for manufacturing. The control system including the first version of the firmware and user interface has been completed. Several potentially short-components (such as the expiratory valve) were redesigned for 3D print and laboratory tested.

    From the onset, we are collaborating under the understanding that the design and any learnings are open source, to be used freely around the world as the need arises.

    Feel free to contact us for more details, further information following as we progress.

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