San Francisco-based Respiraworks touts the medical-grade device as capable of being assembled for less than $500. The company designed the system for long-term vs. crisis use and for developing countries with the intent to source and manufacture locally, according to a news release.
A volunteer group of mechanical, process, electrical and controls engineers formed RespiraWorks last month to combine their knowledge of life support and critical engineering applications amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While most teams are addressing the need for “bridge” type ventilators to keep someone alive for six to eight hours, we are not aware of any tackling the ventilators for longer-term needs in an open-source, supply chain-optimized manner, and that’s where this team provides value,” RespiraWorks founder Ethan Chaleff said in the release. “Vital to the success of our ventilator is the design in terms of ease of use, intuitiveness and efficacy. The ICS team’s deep expertise in human-machine interface and embedded touchscreen devices will be instrumental in that, and we are grateful for their generous support.”
ICS develops user interfaces, connected products and touchscreen-enabled applications within the medical space and elsewhere. The company joined RespiraWorks in the collaboration because of its belief that open-source options reduce costs and improve quality, especially at a critical juncture in the battle against COVID-19.
“When RespiraWorks approached us, I was immediately impressed with the team and their unique mission to develop a ventilator that aims to solve the ‘second wave’ of the COVID-19 crisis,” ICS founder & CEO Peter Winston said. “Many companies are working on building ventilators for immediate crisis use. What we’re focused on is developing low-cost devices for the anticipated second wave, for patients who must remain on the devices for long periods of time.
“We feel privileged to be part of this very special project and didn’t hesitate to devote our own resources. A ventilator that can be built from inexpensive, readily available parts using open source software will be a game-changer in countries with developing economies.”