Amateur radio volunteers from around the world have volunteered to assist University of Florida Professor Sam Lampotang and his engineering team in their quest to rapidly develop an open-source, low-cost patient ventilator that can be built anywhere from such commonly available components as PVC pipe and lawn-sprinkler valves. The amateur radio volunteers are developing Arduino-based control software that will set the respiratory rate and other key parameters in treating critically ill coronavirus victims.
Multiple volunteers responding to a call for help from Gordon Gibby, MD, KX4Z, included noted software developer Jack Purdum, W8TEE, and uBITX transceiver maker Ashhar Farhan, VU2ESE. University of Florida physicians are working to address the critical legal aspects as the design moves closer to fruition.
The ventilator’s valves would precisely time compressed oxygen flow into patient breathing circuits under Arduino control, allowing exhausted patients with “stiff” lungs impacted by viral pneumonia to survive until their body can clear the infection. The software design team is also adding simple features such as an LCD display, encoders to choose parameters, and watchdog safety features. — Thanks to Gordon Gibby, KX4Z and the ARRL Website.