NVIDIA scientist develops 'open source' respirator that builds in minutes with existing parts

Artificial respirators are one of the most demanded products by hospitals in full COVID-19. The demand for these devices has been increasing in an incredible way and many companies in sectors such as the automobile or electronics have temporarily refocused their manufacturing to satisfy this demand. An NVIDIA official has had a somewhat different idea: an inexpensive, open source respirator that can be assembled quickly using already manufactured parts.

This is how OP-Vent has emerged, presented in recent days by Bill Dally, chief scientist at NVIDIA. It indicates that it developed it in a few weeks and now it has requested the approval of the FDA (authority in charge of regulating medical devices, among other things, in the United States).

Bill Dally building the OP-Vent artificial repirador. Via NVIDIA.

For $ 400 and assembled in 5 minutes

In a published video, he explains that the artificial respirator is capable of accurately measuring the flow and pressure of the air it sends, after having successfully tested it on a lung simulator. Being open source all its design, code and instructions are available for free to anyone who wants to assemble it.

As he indicates, for the development of the artificial respirator he focused on the two essential components that are readily available: a proportional solenoid valve and a microcontroller. It ensures that the artificial respirator can be assembled in minutes, for this it is fixed on a fixed panel and everything is assembled in a transport case. He comments that it is possible to assemble it in five minutes having the pieces at hand.

As for prices, Bill Dally explains that he built the model for about $ 400, which could be reduced to about $ 300 if it is mass-produced and up to $ 100 if 3D printed parts are used. To put these prices in context, a traditional artificial respirator can cost more than 15,000 euros.

The project is more than welcome and will surely be helpful if it is finally approved by the FDA. Part of two important advantages: cheap and quick to manufacture. However, with the passing of the weeks it is being shown that in the end the artificial respirators are not as effective as they seemed. For example, Dyson recently indicated that the artificial respirators they were developing for the UK government were no longer needed.

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