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RespiCon: Respiratory Support Inventors' Conference

May 28th, (Friday), at 8:00 PDT, 10:00 CDT, 11:00 EDT, 17:00 CEST

Please register at EventBrite even thought the event is free-of-charge to receive reminders and important notices.

Slides With Useful Links

This slide deck provides a general structure of the event and many useful links you can click on without typing:

The Invitation

Join us for a free, 4-hour virtual mini-conference on technology and policy of free-libre open source mechanical respiration support and oxygen support, specifically in the context of COVID-19.

The conferences will have two CONSECUTIVE (not concurrent) tracks. The first track will feature demos and technical discussions aimed at the maker, engineer, and inventors, but is sure to be interesting to policy makers.

The second track starts at 10:00am PDT and features policy discussions, first-hand accounts, and panels of informed experts to help us all understand how to address the global pandemic as effectively as possible.

We believe both tracks will be interesting to most participants so we have organized them consecutively so that everyone can hear every talk if they wish.

The conference is dedicated to the long-term relief of the COVID-19 crisis in India.

In order to create a community and make connections, we will have a concurrent room implemented with software from "Social Hour" where you can chill out and get to meet the speakers after their talks. Areas will dedicated to specific topics, such as mechanical ventilation, oxygen concentration, field deployment and fundraising.

Social Interaction

SOCIAL INTERACTION: In order to foster social interaction during the conference, we will be using the "Social Hour" video chat for post-speaker Q&A and for people to have side conversations, which we hope will occur frequently! We want to the attendees to make new friends and connections. When not enjoying a talk or a panel discussion in our Zoom room, please hand out in the Social Hour Lounge:

Nathaniel Bechard (PolyVent PCB designer) will be host and facilitator of technical discussions in Social Hour.

Additionally, although the Zoom Webinar will have chat capability, Sirius GLOBAL is graciously offering us a Slack channel for the conference. This will be a great place for technical conversations (about machines or policy!) and to connect with speakers with a similar interest.

Technical Track (8:00 am PDT)

Time (PDT)TitleSpeaker   Notes
8:00 Orientation Victor Suturin, PhD A general orientaton to the whole conference. A welcome by Gabriella Marcelja of Sirius Global.
8:10 OpenVent-Bristol Darren Lewis one of the earliest open and most manufacturable bag-squeezing ventilators: video
8:20 Respiraworks a free-libre open source blower and proportional valve ventilator that has been well-tested and is close to production ready.
8:30 Vayu Ex Machina Lee Felsenstein Hardware Reference Ventilator Implementation: video
8:40 PolyVent Nathaniel Bechard PolyVent: an open-source free-libre ventilator R&D platform
8:50 VentOS Rob Read the only free-libre software project designed to be universal platform for human respiration, the VentOS is highly modular and has a defined control API (PIRCS) and data API (PIRDS)
9:00 Oxygen Concentrator Ben Coombs if we had good open-source oxygen concentrators right now, we could save many lives in India. This session will describe the basic principles of pressure-swing adsorption O2 concentrators, and feature demos of:
O2 production (10m) Neil Downie Author of "Industrial Gases"
Diane Ackerley Downie Leader of
Floring Gheorghe Funding opportunities with UNICEF
Maker Asylum (10m) Vaibhav Chhabra Leader of Maker Asylum in India
The Ox (10m) Ben Coombs prototype oxygen concentrator by Public Invention
Project Apollo (10m) Adi Oltean prototype oxygen concentrator being developed in India now
COSMIC OxyCon (10m) Bruce Woodburn prototype oxygen concentrator

As an example of the technical fun we will be presenting in the technical track, here is a video by Respiraworks that they will play and answer questionsa about:

We will have a brief break before the Plenary Keynote which kicks off the Policy Track for the whole conference at 10:00 am PDT.

Policy Track

Time (PDT)TitleSpeakerNotes
10:00 Keynote: Freespireco Robert L. Read
10:10 Panel: Free Culture Medical Technology Marc Jones Free Culture Intellectual Property advocate
Jorge Contreras Law Professor and founder of OpenCOVID Pledge
Joshua SarnoffLaw Professor, DePaul University
10:40 Talk: Open Source and Transparency vs. Medical Devices Regulations: Misunderstandings and Inspirations Pierre Lonchampt, PhDPierre is a regulatory expert with
11:00Talk: Repairing Ventilators in Guatemala Joe Leier Personal experience from the field in Guatemala
11:10 Panel: The Oxygen Shortage In India Amish Chadha
Richa Shrivastava Managing Partner, Maker's Asylum India
Leith Greenslade Every Breath Counts Coalition
11:40 Panel: Preparing for the Next Global Crisis Robert L. Read
Renata Petrevska Nechkoska, PhDEuVsVirus volunteer and COVID survivor
Andrew Lamb Innovation Lead, Field Ready, Shuttleworth Fellow
Joshua Pearce Prof. Michigan Tech, Open Source and Appropriate Tech advocate
12:10 Call to Action Every Project has needs ...of money and skilled volunteers

Updates are Coming

We will be providing additional speaker bios and refinements to the program as the program solidifies.

Code of Conduct

To facilitate collaboration during this volunteer-run conference we are making open chat forums available for all participants, including young innovators joining us from across the world. There will be no tolerance for unprofessional conduct, bullying or derogatory statements. We expect both panelists and participants to refrain from divisive political messaging and debates.

We will immediately remove anyone violating this policy.

A Survey About Ventilators for Medical Professionals

Jacline Contrino of the VentOS team created a valuable survey about ventilators. This is ONLY for medical professionals. If you are a nurse, RT, or MD who uses ventilators, please fill out this one-page survey to help VentOS and the humanitarian engineering community:

Ventilation Usage Survey

Speaker Bios

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Robert L. Read

Public Invention President

Robert L. Read, PhD, founded Public Invention in 2019, 35 years after first being inspired to do so by Buckminster Fuller. He is a professional computer programmer and manager, and amateur scientist, physicist, and mathematician, mycologist and electrical engineer. He speaks Esperanto fluently. He hopes that 20 years from now you will be able to go to a party and say, “I’m a Public Inventor” and have everyone know what that means.

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Ben Coombs

Public Invention Coach, Oxygen Concentrator

Ben has a range of professional engineering experience from healthcare project management to software development. Ben holds a Master of Engineering (Honours) in mechanical engineering from The University of Auckland, New Zealand where he researched sustainable aerospace composite materials and manufacturing methods.

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Victor Suturin (PhD)

Co-Founder and Invention Coach, PolyVent

Victor is the co-founder and project leader of PolyVent. He is an entrepreneur and an inventor in the healthcare field, currently running Aliform - a medical device startup based in Aachen, Germany. He has a strong leadership and interdisciplinary science background with expertise in biomedical sciences, physiology, and medical device design.


Leith Greenslade

Leith Greenslade is Co-founder and Coordinator of the Every Breath Counts Coalition, an alliance of 50 organizations from the public, private, and non-profit sectors working together to help low- and middle-income country governments reduce deaths from pneumonia, including from COVID-19. Every Breath Counts is a flagship initiative of JustActions, which Leith launched in 2016 to mobilize global action around ten initiatives with the power to accelerate progress to a more just world rapidly, sustainably, and irreversibly. She is a proud member of the Every Woman, Every Child movement and has served as a Vice Chair with the MDG Health Alliance, a network of leaders committed to accelerating the achievement of global health goals. Deeply committed to the power of new ideas, Leith established two global innovation teams to improve the health of vulnerable children, is a Board member of TEAMFund, and an adviser to several global health and development organizations. She has served on the US Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and in several positions with the Australian Government, including with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health, the Leader of the Federal Opposition, and the Shadow Minister for Social Security and the Status of Women.

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Joshua M. Pearce

Joshua M. Pearce is an engineering professor. His research concentrates on the use of open source appropriate technology to find collaborative solutions to problems in sustainability and poverty reduction. He is the editor-in-chief of HardwareX, a journal dedicated to open source scientific hardware and the author of the Open-Source Lab:How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs and Create, Share, and Save Money Using Open-Source Projects.


Pierre Lonchampt

Pierre Lonchampt grew up in France and studied engineering there before a brief passage in academia with a large engineering contractor. He then started a career in medical devices spanning 15 years and three countries. When he is not helping early-stage entrepreneurs with diapason. consulting, Pierre can be found performing with his daughter or taking a thinkpad apart with his son.


Joe Leier

From the dusty hills of Lebanon to the green mountains of Guatemala and Haiti and sweltering heat of Nigeria, Joe Leier has used his life experience as a farm boy,  his  journeyman work as an electrician, and his studies in many areas of electronics and computers to bless people over a span of about 40 years. He has done almost everything imaginable from plumbing to satellite internet installs, solar electric, and repairing everything from sterilizing equipment to anesthesia machines. His latest focus during the Covid-19 crisis has been repairing ventilators and making them usable for hospitals in Guatemala.


Joshua D. Sarnoff

Joshua D. Sarnoff is a Professor of Law at DePaul University, received the 2018 DePaul Spirit of Inquiry Award, and has received numerous awards for his scholarship. He is an internationally recognized expert on the intersections of intellectual property law, environmental law, health law, and constitutional, administrative, and international law.  In June 2019, he testified before the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee on pending legislation to revise subject matter eligibility doctrine under Section 101 of the Patent Act (testimony here).  From January 2014 to July 2015, he served as the Thomas A. Edison Distinguished Scholar at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Richa Shrivastava

Richa drives strategic collaborations and partnerships for Maker's Asylum. She believes that the future of learning is evolving and alternative spaces will be significant in customising people's learning journeys. Maker’s Asylum is a community makerspace focussed on fostering innovation through purpose based learning focussed on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The space houses various labs that are co-located in order facilitate prototyping of ideas that are interdisciplinary in nature. Nurturing the culture of innovation over the years in the areas of hardware, design and sustainability, Maker's Asylum has built a large community of makers and has been on the forefront of the maker movement in India. Richa in her previous stint worked with the State Government of Andhra Pradesh in India to drive Fintech and Blockchain investments into the state and has also worked in the Indian Telecommunications industry in technology strategy that involved strategic and analytic support to the leadership at  Idea Cellular (Aditya Birla Group).


Jorge Contreras (JD, Harvard; BA, BSEE, Rice)

Jorge Contreras (JD, Harvard; BA, BSEE, Rice) is a Presidential Scholar and Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City, Utah.  His research focuses on intellectual property, antitrust law and science policy.  He has written or edited ten books and more than one hundred scholarly articles and chapters on these topics and was one of the founders of the Open COVID Pledge, a framework for the contribution of intellectual property to the fight against COVID-19.


Renata Petrevska Nechkoska

After a decade as banking middle manager in international financial institution ProCredit Bank, she joins the academia for a double PhD degree in Business Economics from Ghent University Belgium (UGENT) and PhD in Management at University St. Kliment Ohridski Bitola, North Macedonia (UKLO). Currently assistant professor at UKLO & postdoc at UGENT, lecturing, mentoring, coaching, inspiring (herself and others). Since 2015, engaged as European Commission evaluator - Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe (European Innovation Council).
Her voluntary expression spills over in multiple domains: as Head of Research Team in the Western Balkans Alumni Association (WBAA), alumna of the Harvard’s Center for International Development Community of Practice with the Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA). Elsevier Advisory Panel member since 2015. She is a reviewer for Emerald, Springer publications and mentor, coach, advisor. During the pandemic, she has led the Academia R&D partners team for the EUvsVirus hack/match/launch-a-thon & beyond. She sustained generating and facilitating the Academia Diffusion Experiment to capture & produce knowledge on how to co-create value together for science and practice via open collaboration, open innovation & open science, using the Denica managerial method for tactical management. Her trendsetting work in ‘Tactical management in complexity: managerial and informational aspects’, in a book published by Springer Nature, has been her way to build functional bridges of trans-/cross-/inter-/multiple disciplines & practice, EU & non-EU countries, contexts, from strategy, tactics, to operations & projects.
Setting pathways in unchartered territories, transcending science and creativity, co-dreaming, co-creating and co-evolving are the things she dives in with challenge, pleasure and passion for. Together with global peers, she partakes in the emergence of magic for an improved world.

Nathaniel Bechard

Nathaniel is a 16-year-old designer and prototyper for PolyVent, a public invention project. He spends most of his free time working on engineering projects, involving robotics, 3d printing, avionics, and other fields. He’s interested in changing the world with engineering.

Maker's Asylum_Vaibhav Chhabra

Vaibhav Chhabra

Vaibhav Chhabra is a mechanical engineer by education but a carpenter by passion. A graduate from Boston University, Vaibhav spent the first 2 years of his career at EyeNetra, a startup from MIT Media Labs, building portable Virtual Reality based eye diagnostic devices. While working with the rural community in India for his eye diagnostic prototype, Vaibhav founded ‘Makers Asylum.’ Maker’s Asylum is a community space focussed on fostering innovation through hands on learning. The space houses various labs that are co-located in order to facilitate prototyping of ideas that are interdisciplinary in nature. Vaibhav essentially coupled his degree with his passion to create the first community Makerspace in India. The key focus of this space is to foster education in areas of hardware, design & sustainability. In his leisure time Vaibhav enjoys making furniture, photography and winning at ping pong. He is also the Chair for innovation and entrepreneurship at Young Indians – Confederation of Indian Industries, a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and part of the French President's Young Leaders Club.
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Andrew Lamb

Andrew is a Shuttleworth Fellow working on ‘Massive Small Manufacturing’ and open hardware issues. Andrew applies this work particularly in disaster relief contexts as the Innovation Lead on the global team of the humanitarian organisation Field Ready – which works to transform aid by locally manufacturing supplies in the field. He is currently the Chair of the Internet of Production Alliance and a board member of Appropedia. Andrew has worked in the aid and technology sectors for 20 years.

Amish Chadha

Amish is Chief Risk Officer at Helpful Engineering, an incubator focused on collectively engineering rapid and open solutions to sustainability challenges worldwide.

An economist, systems engineer and technologist by background – he’s spent the last 20 years working at the intersection of engineering design, product management, supply chain, data quality and risk across Energy, Utilities, Mining, Healthcare, & Manufacturing – both as a Technical Architect and as a trusted Advisor in the public and private sector.

Since 2017 he has been a Board Member with the Association of Manufacturing Excellence based out of Chicago and VP of AME Canada – mentoring manufacturing leaders, building technical consortia and generating thought leadership in smart manufacturing, Lean, digital twins; robotics; value creation and people centric leadership.

He is a strong advocate for including advanced manufacturing techniques and digital twins as critical pillars of any economic sustainability model – supporting the transition towards greener, smarter industries. His work explores how both combine to enable new commercial models for technology transfer and infrastructure planning. A passionate tinkerer with a focus on pushing the ideas envelope Amish also leads and contributes to engineering research projects focused on Smart Mobile Labs, Health Aggregators and AI Data Libraries for applications in Diagnostic Medicine.

When he’s not busy problem solving he is a guitarist, cocktail enthusiast, avid mountaineer and paddler.

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Neil A. Downie

Neil A. Downie is a physicist and R&D chemical engineer, who has spent most of his career with Air Products & Chemicals Inc and British Oxygen/Linde working on industrial gases and has filed many patents.  He studied at Oxford University  and then at DESY Hamburg where he helped discover the gluon particle.  He has written the textbook Industrial Gases ISBN 0-751-40352 and Saturday Science books of unusual science/engineering projects for teenagers.

Neil now works for the medical/engineering charity Exovent on negative pressure ventilators and related technology like oxygen concentrators and on educational projects.  Contact e-mail:

Diane Ackerley Downie

Dr Diane Ackerley Downie MBBS MRCGP studied physiological sciences at Oxford University and then clinical medicine at King’s College London.  She spent her career enjoying using some of the developments in modern medicine while working in general practice.  Diane is now an expert member of a NHS Research Ethics Committee.  Since March 2020 she has been a volunteer member of the Exovent group liaising with commercial engineering partners.  Diane likes finding problems that she can try to solve.  Contact:, and see


Lee Felsenstein

Lee Felsenstein has designed analog and digital electronics for more than 50 years – if you read this on a computer display it is through his “shared memory” architecture developed specifically for personal computers before they existed (1974).

He was instrumental in the inception and development of the personal computer industry in Silicon Valley – most notably the “open source” design culture that distinguished it from other high-tech industries. For this he was designated a Fellow of the Computer History Museum in 2016.

Lee is assembling a group of experienced engineers to develop electronics to address urgent societal needs in remote countries.