We are a group of volunteer community members, including engineers, designers, technologists and doctors who have recognized the effort to gather and refurbish sleep apnea (CPAP) and BiPAP machines as a critical strategy solution for hospitals treating patients affected by COVID-19. VentilatorProject.Org, led by Alex Hornstein, has grown to 60 volunteers who have been working around the clock to understand the needs of doctors and hospitals, researching and testing technology as it becomes available, designing this donation drive, and coordinating with medical professionals and innovative public servants.
What are the problems you aim to help solve with this project?:
Ventilators are in short supply, but CPAP and BiPAP machines are plentiful, and unmodified home-use machines can be combined with existing, FDA-approved components to make effective ways to ventilate patients when higher-end machines are not available. Ventilator Project works with engineers, pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and volunteers from all walks of life to understand the complex ecosystem around these home-use CPAP and BiPAP machines and to design, measure and characterize their performance as non-invasive ventilators.
What are some of the major challenges you have encountered and how did you address them?:
Receiving and refurbishing donated machines is a complex process and required quite a bit of coordination with many groups and volunteers across Rhode Island and throughout the country. The other side is also challenging: ensuring that the machines can be used effectively by hospital workers at the point of care, and VP works with doctors and researchers to characterize the machines and patient circuits, document the machines for hospital use, and help coordinate doctors around the world who wrote a collaborative protocol showing how to use the machines for treatment.