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Project Spotlight: RespiraWorks

An open-source ventilator project.

Written by: Jordan Green

The Challenge

Ventilators, machines that assist a person in breathing, are in increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventilators are needed in hospitals to sustain patients with the most serious cases of COVID-19 and are sometimes used for weeks at a time. 

These ventilator units can cost thousands of dollars, which is out of reach for the billions that live in communities that lack the resources to purchase or produce them. With new COVID-19 cases daily, the gap between ventilator need and availability continues to increase.

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The Solution

RespiraWorks is a project that’s grown from a garage in California into a global team of more than 120 volunteers, with contributors located in places like France, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, and the United States. In an interview via Slack, Operations Manager Curtis Kline summarized their mission: “RespiraWorks is a non-profit organization working to rapidly develop, manufacture, and deploy a low-cost and open-source ventilator for communities under-served by the global supply chain.”

While even “hard-hit” areas of the U.S. have fortunately been able to meet demand for ventilators thus far, as published in USA Today, other communities lack the access to resources. Teams of makers are working to address the global need for ventilators, several of which you can read about in the Helpful Engineering Project Gallery. The RespiraWorks team is focusing specifically on supplying ventilators to doctors in “countries with developing economies and low-resource communities,” according to their website, beginning with manufacture in Guatemala then use there at partner Hospitalito Atitlàn.

“RespiraWorks is a non-profit organization working to rapidly develop, manufacture, and deploy a low-cost and open-source ventilator for communities under-served by the global supply chain.”

Many of the low-cost ventilators in development are meant to act as a “bridge”, a short-term solution that tides a patient over until another ventilator is available. 

“However,” Kline wrote, “COVID-19 patients require lung-protective adaptive ventilation strategies, and require ventilator support for days to weeks. This is the problem we are trying to solve.” The RespiraWorks ventilator is being designed with long-term use in mind.

The team began testing during the last week of April, Kline explained, and is currently finalizing their “Alpha Build,” or first functional prototype. The next prototype, he wrote, will include more final components. The team hopes to complete this “Beta” prototype in the next month, and to begin manufacture within two to three months.

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Alpha Build of RespiraWorks Ventilator

You Can Help

Right now, RespiraWorks is most in need of two things: 

  • Volunteers
  • Donations


Want to volunteer?
RespiraWorks is especially in need of volunteers to assist with PR, fundraising and donor relations, and is also always looking for volunteers with experience in the field of medical devices.

If you have experience in working with medical device design, manufacture, or testing, with pitching stories to media outlets, or with non-profit fundraising, please reach out to RespiraWorks via email at [email protected] or via a message to a team member on Helpful Engineering’s Slack workspace to enquire about volunteering. 

Want to donate?
Donate to RespiraWorks directly through their donation page

Want to learn more?
Learn more about this project at the RespiraWorks website.

Progress

RESPIRAWORKS AWARDED $50,000 GRANT FROM CITRIS!

We are so excited to announce that RespiraWorks has just received a $50,000 grant from CITRIS and the Banatao Institute! We will be applying the fund towards equipment and labor in building our low-cost open source full feature ventilator.

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute create information technology solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. CITRIS was created in 2001 as one of four interdisciplinary institutes for science and innovation at the University of California by the California state legislature to shorten the pipeline between world-class laboratory research and the development of applications, platforms, companies, and even new industries.

> See the post

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The designs for this ventilator is presented As-Is. The goal is to present designs that can foster further discussion and be utilized in countries that permit this product. These are not finalized designs and do not represent certification from any country. You accept responsibility and release Helpful Engineering from liability for the manufacture or use of this product. This design was created in response to the announcement on March 10, 2020, from the HHS.  Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who issued a declaration pursuant to the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act

Link to Prep act. :https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/legal/prepact/Pages/default.aspx

 

ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER, EXPRESS, IMPLIED AND STATUTORY, ARE HEREBY DISCLAIMED. ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE HEREBY DISCLAIMED. THIS DEVICE (INCLUDING ANY ACCESSORIES AND COMPONENTS) IS PRESENTED ‘AS IS.’

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