Coronavirus is sweeping across the world, causing panic in its wake. Your local grocery store is probably already out of toilet paper, rice, and water — for some inexplicable reason. Restaurants and bars in your town are likely closed or at least open for only limited hours. Some of you may even be under lockdown, and unable to leave your homes. But those are all inconveniences for those of us who aren’t sick. People who have actually contracted COVID-19 need medical assistance, and the Protofy team's DIY OxyGEN automated oxygen pump is designed to help with that.
Like other forms of coronavirus, the current COVID-19 virus can cause severe respiratory problems, among other symptoms that are often associated with the flu. While the COVID-19 mortality rate is relatively low — currently estimated to be somewhere between 1.4 and 4 percent — it is still important to aid breathing during treatment, particularly for elderly patients. There are many medical devices designed specifically for this job, but with so many cases appearing in some countries, it can be difficult to have enough to go around. That’s especially true in developing countries that don’t have the medical infrastructure that we take for granted in first world countries.
The OxyGEN project is open source and simple enough that just about anyone could make it. It automates the operation of standard manual respirators that are fairly plentiful and inexpensive. Instead of needing many nurses to operate those manual respirators, just a couple could oversee many patients simultaneously with this machine. The device is made with a windshield wiper motor, plywood, and simple fasteners that can be found in any hardware store. It only takes a few hours to build an OxyGEN unit, so they can be quickly implemented. As the designers explain, this isn’t a certified medical device. But it could be useful in emergency situations like the one we find ourselves in currently.
UPDATE: The Protofy team has been hard at work improving it, and have demonstrated a new version made from acrylic. Be sure to follow their YouTube and Twitter channels to stay up to date on further developments.