Low-Cost Opensource Mechanical Ventilator

A project log for Hospital + Makerspace Initiative

Combining the rapid prototyping & small-batch production capabilities of makerspaces with the unique challenges faced by hospitals.

progressthProgressTH 04/17/2020 at 08:500 Comments

April 17, 2019 | ProgressTH While this project currently isn't linked to any specific healthcare institution, to bring it to completion it will have to be evaluated and approved by medical professionals. 

Currently we have a prototype of a prototype; a locally made Arduino Uno-compatible microcontroller controlled, servo-driven linear actuator designed to compress a bag valve mask (BVM). This current prototype was built while still waiting for the BVM and a stronger 25kg-cm servo to arrive.  

BVMs are those resuscitation bags paramedics can be seen squeezing manually while bringing patients to hospitals where they're hooked up more permanently to a mechanical ventilator.

By making the BVM automated/mechanical, an extremely low-cost mechanical ventilator can be made. 

Don't believe a BVM can keep a patient alive for an extended period of time? Check out this story of a man in China whose family kept him alive for 5 years using one. They had one they took turns manually squeezing and when they had access to electricity, a crude mechanical device that squeezed one for them. 

The idea is to create a more reliable and functional version of an automated BVM, including options to change the rate of compression as well as the depth of each compression (to adjust the volume of air delivered).  

Other prototypes developed by other teams have used a similar approach regarding the use of BVMs to create a cheap, already tested means of actually delivering air, leaving the automation of compressions for designers to solve. 

Look for updates on our blog here, on Thingiverse, or Cults3D