The world is suffering at the hands of Coronavirus pandemic with over 119,500 deaths at the time of writing.
Fatalities are piling up due to the shortage of beds in hospitals and ventilators, which have been seen as life-savers in COVID-19 cases. To ensure continual supply, authorities have demanded the production of life-saving medical equipment from different companies like Tesla, and GM.
Amidst all this, BBC reports that a Colombian man named Marco Mascorro has designed a Raspberry Pi-based ventilator.
This is the first time we’re seeing Raspberry Pi’s application in the medical industry. Mascorro posted the computer code and design of the Raspberry Pi-based ventilators in March. Interestingly, he doesn’t have any prior knowledge about creating medical equipment.
After Mascorror posted the code and design online, he received feedback from many health workers for improving his creation.
The ventilator created by him is powered by the cheapest Raspberry Pi SBC – Zero, which costs $5. The SBC opens and closes valves, regulates breathing assistance, and sets air pressure.
Besides the Raspberry Pi, Mascorro also used easy-to-find parts to design the ventilators. For example, the valves deployed in it can be sourced easily from common plumbing and car shops.
Now, the Raspberry Pi-based ventilators will undergo testing at the University Hospital of the Pontifical Xavierian University and Los Andes University in Bogota.
In the testing phase, the ventilators powered by Raspberry Pi will run non-stop for five days on artificial lungs. Once it passes the test, ventilators will be tested on animals, and the researchers are hoping to begin human trials by May.
Upon hearing of the advent of Raspberry Pi Zero in the medical field, Raspberry Pi, the company behind the small form factor computer, has ramped up its production, according to its CEO Eben Upton.