Invention Coach:

Robert L. Read

Public Inventor(s):

Lauria Clarke, Geoff Mulligan


Ventilators are life-critical components that can provide both invasive and non-invasive respiratory support for COVID-19 patients. Particularly when used for critically ill invasively ventilated patients, these are life-critical machines that must be extensively tested and verified.


After Public Invention began the Ventilator Verification Project  on March 15th to address the ventilator shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and compiled a huge list of projects, it became clear that best way to help was not by building yet another ventilator, but building a module that could be reused to test and monitor any ventilator. In fact, along with Jenny Filipetti, we have argued modularity is the key to the whole community being successful.

We therefore created the VentMon , a device that simply plugs into the airway of a breathing circuit and measures the parameters of an operating ventilator that are carefully controlled by clinicians. On May 2nd, we shipped the first 2 VentMons to teams building ventilators to assist with their efforts. We also published the Public Invention Respiration Data Standard (PIRDS), as a means for teams world-wide to share data. Geoff Mulligan created a data logger that anyone can use (you don’t need a VentMon!) and we used it to make a public, totally free data lake where teams can collaborate by seeing live data traces. This uses free, reusable software to make a display similar to what a clinician uses.

The VentMon project is, like all Public Invention projects, completely free and open, and is even given away free to teams in need.

On April 14th, Protocol Labs gave Public Invention a $20,000 a COVID 19 Open Innovation Grant to support the VentMon.

On April 29th, the Mozilla Open Source Software (MOSS) Foundation gave us an additional $20,000 grant.

These funds will be used to get the VentMon to as many teams as quickly as possible. There is a world-wider supply chain shortage of flow sensors, which makes this more complicated than it would be without the pandemic.



Active with three volunteers, currently shipping units free of charge

Skills Needed

Embedded systems computer programmers, standards writers, publicists, social media specialist


This project has already created a number of important reusable components:

Photo Gallery


Request A VentMon

VentMon Request Form

  • Please enter email of person who will sign Memo of Understanding
  • Please enter email of person who will be using the VentMon (if different than primary contact)


“Watching so many teams start working on ventilator designs, Robert Read and the Public Invention team have decided that the best way they can contribute is to make an in-line monitoring device. This would be a tube that connected near the patient and would track the flow and pressure of gases as they entered and left the patient. Much of the rest of the document discusses flow and pressure sensing, but it worth noting that such a simple device like this is extraordinarily valuable and most definitely life-saving.” — Erich Schulz, MD

“The VentMon allowed us to get from thinking ‘this seems to be working’ to ‘this is really working.’ It’s an amazing piece of work and was fundamental to the development of our vent.” — Artemio Mendoza

“The VentMon came at an important time for our team, as Public Invention correctly identified and addressed a crucial bottleneck for the whole Open Source Ventilator movement. Their sensor pack greatly sped up prototype development and gave us a viable sensor option to pair with our device in production.” —Warren Koch, ARMEE