The object all hospitals are ripping off right now is the ventilator, because it's the one that keeps people who are seriously ill with coronavirus alive. However, faced with the vertiginous increase in the number of infected, this material risks being seriously lacking. In order to respond to this emergency, engineers from the Barcelona-based company Protofy.xyz came up with the idea of creating “OxyGEN”, an open-concept, ultra-simple fan that anyone could build anywhere, and that in a few hours.
All you need is a saw, a few screws, wooden or acrylic plates, and a wiper motor. Once assembled, these components allow the camshaft to rotate and thereby activate a manual resuscitator, also known as a “one-way valve self-filling flask” (BAVU). Unlike its electronic cousin installed in the intensive care units, this type of ventilator is very easy to find. There are some in every ambulance. “OxyGEN must be able to be built with inexpensive parts, accessible all over the world. Parts that are easy to get by reusing things you can have on hand, even in emergencies, and even in places away from it all. ”, can we read on the blog engineers.
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The project is now on track. In the space of ten days, the engineers have succeeded in already creating a fifth prototype with interchangeable cams, which makes it possible to better adapt to the patient's needs. The product is available in two versions, one to do yourself in a Fablab, and one intended for industrial production. The engineers are also supported in their work by four hospitals in the Barcelona region, as well as by a series of manufacturers (Doga, Seat, Black Light, Recam Laser). During the peak of the crisis, this innovative equipment could therefore save lives. However, there is no question of using it in normal times. As it is not certified, its use will be strictly limited to an emergency.
These Barcelona engineers are not the only DIY enthusiasts interested in this subject. Several other projects have been launched. A Google engineer, for example, created a makeshift fan from different pre-existing components, all driven by an Arduino board.
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A researcher from Johns Hopkins University published the specifications a fan with a design not so far from OxyGEN: instead of the camshaft, it offers the use of a belt to compress the insufflator balloon.
The Irish project Open Source Ventilator He too is trying to create a device based on the compression of a BAVU. But the concept seems more complicated and less advanced than that of the Barcelonians.
Finally, note that makers are not only interested in fans. In Italy, engineers from Isinnova have transformed an Easybreath Decathlon diving mask into an oxygen ventilation mask, a type of equipment that too may soon run out. Grouped under the watchword #coronavirusmakers, several Spanish Fablabs also manufacture protective visors for healthcare personnel, using 3D printing or laser cutting.
In short, all over the world, “makers” are rolling up their sleeves to try to make up for the shortage of medical equipment. It's a great idea and you have to support them.