A team of Spanish engineers has developed a prototype motorized ventilator that operates a bag-valve mask without assistance from a doctor. They are sharing all their plans online and hope to soon be able to offer a finished product that could help compensate for the lack of sufficient intensive care resources in hospitals around the world.
This is an open source hardware prototype with a comprehensive set of plans and instructions that are free of charge and shared online, so that anyone can build the new machine.
The goal is to be able to automatically operate a basic bag-valve mask, which is typically a handheld device used by emergency personnel. The biggest challenge is to ensure that the machine works at the right pace, which is essential to give patients just the right amount of air. The engineers have developed a system of cams to regulate the rhythm of pressure on the bag, which for assisted breathing in an adult requires between 12 and 20 revolutions per minute.
In the team's latest prototype, the cams can easily be changed to configure different breathing rhythms for different patients. Healthcare professionals have already been called on to evaluate the system and provide valuable feedback.
The idea of the project is also to build a machine with parts that are easy to obtain and recycle. For example, in their initial prototypes, the team used a compact and reliable windshield-wiper motor, which they sourced from an old Peugeot 504 ambulance. The motor was powered by an ATX computer power supply.
Everyone is hoping that the team will soon have a version that is ready for mass production. In the meantime, all of the project's plans are available online at github.com/ProtofyTeam/OxyGEN.
- The OxyGEN project website: oxygen.protofy.xyz
- Video of the OxyGEN prototype: youtu.be/v-F1WAANbk8