I live in Spain, one of the countries that has been brutally affected by the pandemia.
Form day one of confinement, I started to work to alleviate the lack of resources in Spain. I have sewn hundreds of facial masks out of vacuum cleaner bags, I have produced hundreds of "Charlotte" valves for respirators, and I have designed an open-source ventilator using only home-improvement materials (inox chimney), a 3D printer and a handful of electronics (all arduino). My goal was to create a ventilator WITHOUT using an AMBU-BAG (bag valve mask)
I published my designs and code in LinkedIn and a week later I had people from Colombia, Canada, Singapore, Mauritania, Sweeden... all interested in th project and asking questions about how to assemble it and such.
I started to work alone, but soon realized that working in a group was going to be much more productive, and I joined 3Denrolados, a group of (mad) people willing to give their best to fight against the coronavirus.
What are the problems you aim to help solve with this project?:
This is a ventilator, and facial masks, so the aim is clear: I want to help doctors to save lives.
The presentation aim is to inspire other people to do the same.
I asked for help to sew the masks, and people responded; I got a cook, an 84 year old grand'ma, a random lady who showed up from thin air, the marketing manager of a multinational company... they all started to sew masks like there is no tomorrow, and we delivered hundreds and hundreds of masks to hospices and nursing homes.
I asked for help to develop the ventilator, and again, my retired dad did all the mathematical model, a doctor spent countless hours explaining how a real ventilator works, one of my sons designed the non return valves... again, people willing to help, asking for nothing, and working together like if there was no tomorrow. Goose bumps all over the place. Gosh...
I can deliver this presentation in English, French and Spanish. I will explain the organisation we put in place in Spain to build and distribute the Charlotte Valves, the masks, and other things we made for hospitals, I wil then explain the ventilator project and will invite other people around the world to join forces, share talents and help others in need.
What are some of the major challenges you have encountered and how did you address them?:
The major challenge was the supply chain. Getting materials have proven to be extremely complicated. Many times some lateral thinking was the trick. For example, sourcing ribbon for the face masks was impossible, but lanyards for id cards were available for next day delivery. Non woven material for the facemasks was also impossible to source, but vacuum cleaner bags were easily available.
Other issue was using non stop 3d printers for 6 weeks. My printer died. The ball bearings of the steppers gave up and had to be replaced. Again, sourcing pieces was not easy, but it was feasible. the biggest issue was repairing the printers via videoconference. My students will call me at any time, with an issue with their printer and I had to repair it. And we did fix'em all!!!