Nathaniel Bechard, Antal Zuiderwijk, Robert L. Read
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the fragility of our global supply chains. The PolyVent started out as an attempt, along with 100 other teams, to make an open source emergency ventilator. It has now become the world’s most open and extensible ventilator.
Our goal is to educate students with a realistic ventilator that is affordable. We hope it will be used in classroom settings for teaching basic pulmomology, but will also be a flexible tool for teaching all kind of biomedical engineering, for example in capstone projects.
The PolyVent is highly extensible, in software, electronics, and the physical modules. The extensible allows senior projects to be made, but also makes this research. Unlike almost any other ventilator, the PolyVent is released under free-and-open licenses which allow researchers to modify and extend the PolyVent for research purposes. For example, a new tool or a new ventilation mode can be legally added to PolyVent.
We believe we have made and are making an excellent educational and research tool that offers flexibility simply not available in any other way.
You may wish to watch our talk at FOSDEM’23:
The full history of the PolyVent Educational Platform (PEP) has been given its own page.
At present the PEP is a complete product ready for classroom, training, and research.
However, the story of the PolyVent continues. In June, we will present our experience with a classroom exercise to the American Society for Engineering Education. The team is actively improving the PolyVent in both software and hardware now.
A second PolyVent is being manufactured now (January, 2023), for more development of training materials and classroom exercises. Similarly, a new version of the VentMon spirometer (version T0.5) is being developed by Ben Coombs.
An independent team consisting of Lawrence Kincheloe and Lee Erickson has made an alarm device (the General Purpose Alarm Device) and a card that fits into the PolyVent for the purpose of adding alarm capability to the PolyVent.
The PolyVent Educational Platform is now on sale. Our goal is to place five of these in educational and training institutions in 2023. We particularly hope that these will be used in low- and middle-income countries.