Open Source Ventilator, OpenLung Projects Aim to Address the COVID-19 Ventilator Shortfall

Volunteers are requested to design, test, and build low-cost rapidly-producible mechanical ventilators as part of the COVID-19 response.

An effort is underway to create low-cost, rapidly-producible ventilators to combat COVID-19. (πŸ“·: Trevor Smale)

A global team of engineers and medical personnel have joined forces in an attempt to develop an open source, rapidly-producible, low-cost ventilator design in an effort to address shortages caused by the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus.

Set up by Colin Keogh, the Open Source Ventilator (OSV) project aims to produce a low-cost rapidly-producible ventilator design which could be used for emergency cases when professional ventilator equipment is unavailable β€” such as is occurring as a result of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic, with the number of people requiring hospitalization and ventilation for COVID-19 already outstripping supply of ventilators in many nations.

"COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the globe and there is a severe shortage of resources including ventilators locally, nationally and internationally," Keogh's website explains. "Ventilators allow people to keep breathing when faced with the complications of COVID19.

"[Open Source Ventilator is] a place for engineers, designers, medical professionals, and communities to generate and validate ideas for open source designs of ventilators that can be produced at scale and made available for use by clinical staff to save lives and aid the recovery of COVID19 patients."

A GitLab repository set up by Trevor Smale holds a series of design concepts suggested for the OSV project, known collectively as the OpenLung, which are based around a manual bag valve mask (BVM) ventilator. Where a BVM would normally need a human to squeeze and release the bag in order to operate, Smale's designs automate the process to convert the BVM into a stand-alone self-operating ventilator.

Those interested in participating in the OSV project can register their interest on the official website; Smale's designs, meanwhile, are available for feedback or pull requests on the OpenLung GitLab repository.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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