A Raspberry Pi Is The Brain Behind This Ventilator Designed To Assist Coronavirus Patients
One of the most in-demand pieces of medical equipment during the coronavirus pandemic around the world is the ventilator. For some with COVID-19, respiratory distress is a problem, and ventilatory support is required to keep patients alive. The problem that many hospitals and medical staff around the world are facing is a shortage of these ventilators. This has led to homegrown designs like this ventilator that uses a Raspberry Pi as the brains.
The ventilator was designed by a team in Columbia to test a home-built machine using easy-to-source parts. The team used a design and computer code posted online in March by a man from California who had no prior experience creating medical equipment. The product seen in the image was created by robotics engineer Marco Mascorro, who says he created the ventilator because he knew the machines were in high demand.
The builder used the feedback from medical personnel to make improvements to his original device. According to the team from Columbia, the design is important for South America because parts for traditional ventilators can be hard to obtain. The valves used in the system can be found at car or plumbing supply stores. The Raspberry Pi is a key component of the ventilator system that sets the air pressure, opens and closes valves, and regulates if the patient needs full or partial breathing assistance. The code that runs the system is open-source and available for anyone to use or modify.
According to the team behind the ventilator, it set to be put through a fast-track round of testing at the University Hospital of the Pontifical Xavierian University and Los Andes Camp University. During the testing process, the equipment will run for five days non-stop using a set of artificial lungs. If the machine is able to accomplish those tests, it will move to animal trials before being tested on humans, which could start in May.