Technology 3 min read

How Fast can we Deploy an Open-Source 3D-Printed Ventilator?

Model and Illustration by Trevor Smale via Open Source Ventilator

Model and Illustration by Trevor Smale via Open Source Ventilator

Aside from masks, rubbing alcohol, and other medical supplies, hospitals across the world might face a shortage of ventilators for COVID-19 patients as well. But, an international group developed an open-source 3D-printed ventilator to prevent it from happening.

Three months since its discovery, the highly contagious COVID-19 has now spread across the globe, affecting thousands of people. To date, the new strain of coronavirus has already affected 176 countries and killed over 8,900 people.

To contain the virus and keep it from spreading, many governments imposed total lockdowns of their countries and major cities.

China was the first to implement the drastic measure on the megacity of Wuhan, where the virus allegedly originated. Two weeks after reporting the first coronavirus case in the country last February 21st, Italy is now also on total lockdown.

Many nations followed suit. However, containing COVID-19 seems impossible despite all efforts.

Furthermore, the growing demand for medical supplies like surgical masks, rubbing alcohol, and disinfectants also burden many countries today. Hospitals across the world also fear that the increasing number of severely infected patients could lead to a shortage of ventilators.

Open-Source 3D-Printed Ventilator

In the most severe cases, COVID-19 targets healthy tissues in the lungs, affecting the delivery of oxygen to the blood. It could lead to pneumonia and other deadly respiratory conditions.

To aid COVID-19 patients, doctors use ventilators to supply their lungs with oxygen. However, patients with other respiratory conditions, undergoing surgery, or under general anesthesia also need ventilators.

If the coronavirus pandemic continues, a shortage of ventilators is inevitable. To stop such a thing from happening, professionals from around the world joined hands to design an open-source 3D-printed ventilator.

The project, called Open Source Ventilator, was started on Facebook last March 11th by Gui Calavanti. Since then, it has attracted the attention of over 300 healthcare professionals, engineers, designers, and venture capitalists.

Called OpenLung, OSV’s product aims to provide trained medical professionals alternative equipment in the absence of medical-grade mechanical ventilators.

The group’s Irish members assembled the first 3D-printed ventilator using PLA plastic derived from renewables like sugar and cornstarch. The team was able to develop the prototype in just seven days.

According to OSV, OpenLung can be produced anywhere using any 3D printer. Ireland’s Health Services will validate the efficacy of said novel technology.

The OSV project is still on-going, and engineers or medical experts who are interested in joining the effort can register here. In a statement, OSV CEO and co-founder, Colin Keogh, said:

“It doesn’t matter where you are. It doesn’t matter what your skillset is, what time zone you’re in. If you can contribute in a group to these large scale projects, you can have very high-impact results in a very short amount of time.”

Read More: Google Search to Show Closed Businesses Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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