Invention Coach:

Robert L. Read

Public Inventor(s):

Lauria Clarke, Geoff Mulligan, Ben Coombs


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 was given away free to teams in need.

On April 29th, the Mozilla Open Source Software (MOSS) Foundation gave us an additional $20,000 grant, which was used to deliver 20 VentMons free-of-charge to teams all over the world.

On April 14th, Protocol Labs gave Public Invention a $20,000 a COVID 19 Open Innovation Grant to support the VentMon. We are using this money to build 15 units of the VentMon T0.4. This will be free to teams that sign an MOU that they are creating free-libre open source devices; contact us to get on the list.

By May 1st, 2021, we had given away more than 30 VentMons and used up all of these monies for this purpose. We intend to continue to produce VentMons to make available to researchers at subsidized prices.



Active with three volunteers, currently shipping units free of charge

Skills Needed

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

Quarterly Goals

  • Produce the next version of the physical design


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

Photo Gallery




Request A VentMon

Note: The VentMon is no longer available free of charge. However, it is an open-source project—you can build your own! However, as a public good we will still on some occasions distribute VentMons for a suggested donation of USD$500. For cost reasons, it is easiest of us to make VentMons in batches of 15. By asserting you want one, you help us understand demand and make it easier for us to commit to making them.


“Ventmon is helping us tremendously. Thank you very much for sending. We were able to dispatch and install a few ventilators free of cost to a small charitable hospital here in India. As covid infections are rising heavily, we are trying our best to supply maximum machines to the needy and hospitals that don’t have life-saving equipment. This is going to save many lives.” – Ajit Lahori, Taurus Medical Corporation

“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

“The VentMon was an incredibly intuitive and effective device for our gentle-ventilation project. The measurements were accurate and the analysis interface displayed the data in a meaningful way. The VentMon is an excellent example of what Open-Source hardware should be!”
— Shane Oberloier, Ph.D. Candidate, Michigan Technological University