A company has produced an open source design for a rudimentary ventilator system, with many 3D printable components.
I’m a bit reluctant to publish on this project, as this is most certainly not an approved device. However, on the chance that it may help someone, somewhere, in a desperate situation I will do so.
There is a worldwide shortage of ventilators. These are medical devices that assist someone unable to breathe, and this is a situation that is happening much more frequently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In some extreme cases, medical authorities run short and must make difficult decisions on which patients will use a ventilator, and which patients will not.
A proper ventilator is a rather complex device that must very carefully integrate with a patient’s breathing system. If it is not properly tuned it can actually cause more damage than not. Some “instant” ventilator designs floating around are definitely not helpful, but it seems that the VentCore design attempts to offer the minimum functionality.
The VentCore Project
The VentCore project was launched by Kosovo-based Formon, a manufacturer of a rather unusual desktop 3D printer that we’ll have to take a closer look at another day.
The project attempts to automate the common “bag valve mask” system. This is essentially a bag that a nurse can manually squeeze to push air through a valve into the patient’s lungs. It works well, but ties up the nurse, preventing them from performing other important duties.
The VentCore device attempts to automate the squeezing of the bag. But it’s not just squeezing a bag, because every breath is different, and especially between people and their progress through a respiratory disease. Thus the VentCore device includes an ability to control the breathing frequency, duration of breath and volume of air moved. In theory a medical professional could adjust these settings to achieve the optimum respiratory configuration for a given patient. This is quite unlike some other designs that simply repeatedly squeeze the bag in an identical way for each breath.
This is NOT a certified medical device and obviously should be used only in the most desperate situations. Unfortunately, there are such situations occurring around the world today.
Formon has published the entire system design online, including circuit board designs. This is thus not something you could 3D print in a weekend, but requires several other making technologies. Nevertheless, it should be producible in many locations with commonly available equipment.
“It is designed as an open system that can be easily produced and replicated fast, at the same time inviting everyone to contribute in its improvement as a device.
Lets not let the lack of ventilators be the reason for more deaths from this unfortunate situation we as humanity found ourselves in.”
There are considerable Warranty and Liability sections within the terms document, and most of it is written in uppercase to indicate its importance. Basically, the document says that the designers are not liable for your use of the design, and that a user is entirely responsible for using the VentCore system. For example:
“YOU UNDERSTAND AND ACKNOWLEDGE THAT: YOU ARE A LEARNED INDIVIDUAL THAT HAS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO OBTAIN ANY AND ALL INFORMATION RELEVANT TO THE USE OF ANY DEVICE RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OF THE CONTENT, INCLUDING THE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS; YOU HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO USE THE CONTENT, THE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS OR ANY DEVICE RESULTING THEREFROM AND YOU DO SO IN YOUR SOLE DISCRETION; YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING THE DEGREE OF MONITORING OR OVERSIGHT THAT IS APPROPRIATE IN CONNECTION WITH PATIENT CARE AND THE USE OF ANY DEVICE RESULTING FROM YOUR USE OF THE CONTENT, INCLUDING THE DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS; YOU HAVE ACCEPTED ALL RESPONSIBILITY AND FORMON LLC RETAINS NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF ANY RESULTING DEVICE; AND YOU WILL COMPLY WITH ALL LAWS AND GOVERNMENTAL RULES, REGULATIONS AND GUIDELINES, INCLUDING ANY SAFETY PRECAUTIONS, THAT ARE APPLICABLE TO THE DEVICE OR THE USE THEREOF.”
In other words, you’d better know what you’re doing if you choose to make this device.