After entering various groups from different communities, (Thank you all very much to all!), an idea clearly stood out: hospitals all over the world need ventilators urgently.
With this idea in mind, it is challenging to know how we can help. These are difficult times when mobility is reduced and the community becomes more local. This is why we think that any citizen, wherever it is needed, should have the capacity to build an automatic mechanical ventilator. We want to design a device that anyone can build. A device for the thousands of anonymous but ingenous people everywhere. Highly motivated citizens eager to help the overflowed healthcare personnel.
For something to be built by anyone, anywhere, it has to be simple and based on easily accessible materials. So, without realizing it, we begin to have clear requirements. With this in mind, we begin studying the available mechanisms of respiration as well as their possible contraindications, after this research we decide that we must find something to solve air management.
One of our medical contacts gives us the idea of using an AMBU type manual ventilator. This device has 2 key factors: the first is that it is present in many places (ambulances, emergency boxes, etc …), on the other hand it is certified for use in the medical environment. With this in mind, we find the Rice’s & MIT projects and even one in Vietnam that reported small successes around this device. Focusing on replacing the personnel necessary to operate the AMBU with a mechanical device. These designs are excellent, but they are very complex to be built by people without training, in emergency situations and shortages.
With no time to waste, browsing contacts, someone warns us that he found an AMBU, in Wallapop. We quickly go there to check that it is true and weather the whole equipment is complete. We know that this type of material is essential at the moment, and in terms of this design, we will make our AMBU available to anyone who needs it in an emergency.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of AMBUs in Barcelona, so we can have one for testing.
While looking for the AMBU, the team in the workshop finds a motor that does not need a power supply, runs at 220V and has a speed similar to that required by our breathing rhythm. For those who do not know the majority of microwaves inside have a small asynchronous motor that works at 220V (some go at 21V AC), perfect. Who doesn’t have a microwave at home?
Hours later and after a first prototype, we see that the microwave engine does not have enough torque. We already feared it, but we had to try it!
We are going home with a thousand ideas in mind, the prototype still does not work, but we are eager to continue tomorrow.
We are optimistic: We have managed in 24h to have design requirements that we believe are viable and to make the first prototype. As they say: FAIL FASTER, SUCCEED SOONER.
Elbows for everyone.