Protocols Labs has been a major support for organizations such as Public Invention which have been addressing the most extraordinary health crisis of this century: the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Invention co-hosted free virtual mini-cons VentCon 2020 and VentConQA, attended by 115 and 50 people respectively (slides and videos at those links). These events drew together the tremendous creative energy of separate international teams working specifically on the shortfall of ventilators. In particular, a vision of a loosely organized coalition of open-source teams is emerging. Part of this project is VentMon, a tester-monitor for ventilators that can be plugged directly into the airway:
The video of VentMon in use by the ARMEE team can be viewed along with our explanation video. The VentMon costs about $300 per unit to make, not counting our need for test equipment. Protocol Labs, along with other grantors, has allowed us to develop this and ship it free-of-charge around the world.
Public Invention has given away 5 of these testers free-of-charge, which have been used extensively by two teams. We are currently building a new run of 10. A major innovation of Public Invention is the offering of a public data lake, http://ventmon.coslabs.com/, where geographically distributed teams can see live traces of ventilators as they are tested. These traces can be viewed with our FOSS project, VentDisplay, which provides sophisticated rendering of pressure/flow graphs, including calculation of rise and fall times and display of alarming events:
The separation and reuse of the hardware VentMon independently of VentDisplay is facilitated by a published, fully-document Public Invention Respiration Data Standard. We have been attempting with some success to get other teams to use the open standard to facilitate data interchange between teams. Because we continue to maintain a giant spreadsheet of all the open-source ventilator projects we can find, Public Invention is well-positioned to advocate for a modularization of the open-source ventilators, as expressed in this diagram:
The grant by Protocol Labs supports our continued efforts to forge a community that continues to make great progress in producing practical, safe, deployable ventilators. As of August 1st, few lives have been saved by open source ventilators. But it is entirely possible that before 2021, tens of thousands of people will have received life-sustaining respiratory support from open-source ventilators.