May 31, 2020 | 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; a locally made Arduino Uno-compatible microcontroller controlled, servo-driven linear actuator designed to compress a bag valve mask (BVM).
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.
The video below covers the main concepts and features of this system. Since making the video we've included control knobs, a control panel, a cooling fan for a permanent 5V 4A power supply, and eyelets for a strap to carry the ventilator (all of which can be seen in the picture at the top of the article).