Dale Dougherty, Publisher of Make Magazine, has been talking alot about "Plan C" -- the communal Maker response to COVID-19, which stepped in when government (Plan A) and industry (Plan B) failed to provide PPE in the early days of the pandemic. I'm a panelist this afternoon in a zoom meeting to discuss this; I of course mostly know about ventilators but will be discussing the transition to more sophisticated devices and getting FDA approval.
In other news, I've been working very hard to build and ship 10 units of the T0.3 VentMon Tester. This is a device that can be used to test/calibrate ventilators. We've been given a grant to give these away free to open-source teams all over the world. A number of teams have requested them of us. Although Public Invention has no intention of making a ventilator, VentMon represents about half the work that goes into a full ventilator.
In other news, Dr. Chris Ferguson and his team of volunteers are getting close to launching our "stay-at-home-STEM" project to allow youngsters to measure bacteria in water with petrifilms, to raise awareness of our "Moonrat" project to build a portable incubator. We've made a great video for this launch:
Additionally, Avinash Baskaran has created a small project: a "patient inflating valve". This is essential component of a pandemic ventilator which closes the airway when air is to enter the patients lung. It is simple, but not an off-the-shelf component. David Jeschke, with a little help from me, continues to work on the Math Tablet project.
Megan Cadena and Enrqiue Villacres and I are working with Erich Schultz, MD, and Abdullah Alanazi, medical student, to write an academic paper showing the importance of short "rise time" in pandemic ventilators, a concept not every ventilator team understood initially.
Finally, Ben Coombs has started a new Public Invention project: and oxygen concentrator. I've been working with a small division of the United Nations, UNTAP, and Engineers Without Borders, and it is clear that the need for therapeutic oxygen is at least as great a need as ventilators. Perhaps surprisingly, it is easier to build an oxygen concentrator than a ventilator.