There is no doubt that the current pandemic is challenging individuals and communities worldwide with unforeseen problems, whether they are directly related to people’s health or not. As history tells us, when humans face a common enemy, the solidarity and sense of belonging to a single race are unbelievable. We are putting aside our differences, our beliefs and overcoming geographical distances to provide help to the ones in need.
A great example is VentilAid, a project born in Kracow, where a few members of the company Urbicum had the idea to use their 3D-printing technology to manufacture ventilators more easily and cheaply.
Since the initial product idea, many people from all over the world have volunteered to join the crew and the team is now working to release their prototype III. Thanks to their wide network of collaborators and volunteers, they are also developing other important products, such as protective face masks.
Here is an extract of their most recent press release, curated by
Dr Lukasz Szydlowski, a member of the VentilAid team as well as President & Co-Founder of the Innovation Forum branch in Okinawa, Japan:
Over the course of two weeks, starting with only a few people focused around the “last chance ventilator” project, VentilAid has transformed into an international operation.
“Emails from all over the world are reaching us with thanks and words of encouragement. It warms our hearts when reading a letter from an engineer from Brazil, that our solutions have become a light at the end of a long dark tunnel for him”, comments Szymon Chrupczalski, the project manager.
Shortly after announcing the ventilator project, many specialists got in touch: doctors, engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs with offers of substantive and financial assistance.
Thanks to their support, it has been possible to significantly improve the projects, as well as to launch important accompanying projects, including:
Also, strategic decisions regarding the projects which we have already commenced are as follows:
Prototypes 1 and 2 with which we initially began our campaign have been abandoned, however, we are now completely focused on prototype 3. Documentation for Prototypes 1 and 2 shall continue to be available in Open Source Format as last chance ventilators.
What is the new VentilAid prototype going to be?
The VentilAid prototype 3 is going to be a device used for non-invasive ventilation, working in CPAP and BiPAP modes with an oxygen feeder. It will enable a patient to remain stable or to improve the condition of a conscious patient who does not qualify for intubation and to be connected to a professional ventilator. It will also free up medical staff, who will be able to transfer expensive equipment to patients in the most critical conditions.
The new VentilAid will be a solution based on suggestions and requests by doctors who report that precisely this type of device is most needed in the process of treating COVID-19.
It is definitely a more complicated device than the previously publicly available prototype 1, however, it fulfils the requirements of current medical standards. We have implemented a few bespoke solutions, such as a turbine that we designed ourselves, which if necessary can be printed on a 3D printer, or an oxygen feeder container without the need to use costly sensors.
The creators have also started a fundraising campaign, with the aim of financing further projects, the certification project and to prepare extensive assistance to developing countries.
At the moment thanks to people’s generosity, we’ve been able to purchase essential components which can be fitted into the new VentilAid devices. To add to that, a few tools for testing purposes and the rest from our own resources. We’d like to thank the Polish National Foundation who have also contributed to the project.
The situation in Poland isn’t ever expected to be critical, but VentilAid may be a reserve device should the darkest hour ever fall upon us. Our devices may be especially helpful to countries, where there is a lack of well-equipped hospitals. COVID-19 is a very serious infection of the lungs. Those without any respiratory assistance might, without swift intervention, choke to death.
The creators of the project encourage Poles and the international community to support us in accomplishing this mission and to keep up with updates about the project through our official channels:
Who supports VentilAid