APR 23, 2020 8:36 AM PDT

Over 200 Volunteers Design $216 Ventilator for COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Over 200 volunteers from France have designed a ventilator suitable to treat COVID-19 patients that costs less than $500 to make. A collaboration of university teachers, researchers, medical teams, developers and makers, the design is available on open source platform, Github

Known as MakAir, the large team of volunteers came together to design the machine given that many hospitals may soon start to run out of ventilators, if they haven’t already. With proper economies of scale, they estimate that their cost-per-unit may be as little as $108- $216. Meanwhile, a typical hospital ventilator costs around $40,000. 

The researchers have made the ventalator’s different components available via 3D printing. On Github, they say, “This project provides all the parts required to build a good-enough ARDS (Acute respiratory distress syndrome) ventilator from mass-produced components. We provide all the required mechanical parts, electronics designs & boards, and firmwares.”

This ventilator can be 3D-printed and ran on an Arduino board (the maker way), though we highly advise that you work with industrial processes as to mold medical-grade plastic parts and assemble the whole ventilator (this would be required for the built ventilator to pass all medical certifications).”

The volunteer team left a series of warnings alongside their open source instructions. Although they mention the ability to build the ventilator’s components using 3D printing, they recommend more industrial methods to better scale into mass production, and to ensure that parts are not brittle and do not leak air. 

They also warn that any self-built ventilators must be thoroughly tested against lung simulators, such as the ASL 5000, to ensure their safety when used in patients. Failure to do so could mean that the machine’s mechanics, pneumatics or software could put the patients at risk of both death and permanent lung damage. 

Lastly, they said that although MakAir ventilators produced on site in France received validation from medical and engineering boards, any people making them independently should seek separate validation. This comes as their assembly methods and parts may differ from those specified in the instructions. 


Sources: Github, Quartz

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
JUL 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
New Drug Discoveries are Due To Good Labs
JUL 21, 2020
New Drug Discoveries are Due To Good Labs
A study suggests that the quality of lab procedures performed heavily influences the rate of drug discoveries. These fin ...
JUL 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Will We Have a COVID-19 Vaccine by Year-End?
JUL 29, 2020
Will We Have a COVID-19 Vaccine by Year-End?
This week, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer launched giant Phase III 30,000-subject trials for their COVID-19 ...
AUG 16, 2020
Neuroscience
Study Says Social Connection Best Way to Prevent Depression
AUG 16, 2020
Study Says Social Connection Best Way to Prevent Depression
Depression is the world's leading source of disability. Now, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) h ...
AUG 25, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Drug Combination Reduces Cardiovascular Complications
AUG 25, 2020
Drug Combination Reduces Cardiovascular Complications
According to a new study, combining the drugs hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZM) was shown to reduce cardio ...
SEP 21, 2020
Microbiology
A Fast, Cheap Way to See if Two Antibiotics Work Together
SEP 21, 2020
A Fast, Cheap Way to See if Two Antibiotics Work Together
When a person has a bacterial infection, doctors can prescribe antibiotics. Some antibiotics combos can work better than ...
SEP 27, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
SEP 27, 2020
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
Over the last few months, various headlines have emerged suggesting the potential for cannabinoids, and in particular, c ...
Loading Comments...