A team of Irish entrepreneur Colin Keogh and Breeze Automation CEO and co-founder Gui Calavanti launched an open source hardware project using 3D printed parts and easy-to-access, inexpensive materials to print ventilators. The project was launched on Facebook and involved more than 300 engineers, medical professionals and researchers, and the prototype of the 3D-printed ventilator took just seven days to design and produce.
The prototype will now be validated by Ireland’s health regulator, the Irish Health Service Executive Board (HSE). Technically, this will only test whether it can be used in Ireland, which, ironically, has relatively abundant stock of ventilator hardware, but this will be a key sign of approval to provide this alternative to countries that are short of ventilators.
The U.S. may also experience shortages of ventilator hardware, depending on the progress of the coronavirus’s spread in the country. On Wednesday, the White House enacted the Defense Production Act, which gives the president broad powers to transfer the production capacity of materials and private companies to the construction of much-needed materials and equipment during times of crisis.
In a White House briefing on the current SITUATION at the COVID-19 on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said the country’s strategic stockpile of only 10,000 ventilators did not take into account the equipment stock of surrounding hospitals or medical facilities. If some of the more serious predictions of infection come true, the country’s ventilator reserves may not be able to meet the overall needs of medical professionals.