UF Researchers Lead the Way in Rapidly Designing, Building Low-Cost, Open-Source Ventilator (UF Health Newsroom)

UF Researchers Lead the Way in Rapidly Designing, Building Low-Cost, Open-Source Ventilator

As a University of Florida mechanical engineering student decades ago, Samsun Lampotang, Ph.D., helped respiratory therapist colleagues build a minimal-transport ventilator that became a commercial success. So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and he heard the desperate international plea for thousands of more ventilators, the longtime UF professor of anesthesiology set out to build a prototype using plentiful, cheap components that could be copied from an online diagram and a software repository.

Lampotang dispatched David Lizdas, Ph.D., the lead engineer in his lab, to Home Depot to gather items such as air-tight PVC water pipes and lawn-sprinkler valves. Along with engineering and medical colleagues at UF and — through a burgeoning open-source network — places as far-flung as Canada, India, Ireland, Vietnam, and Brazil, they raced to “MacGyver” these items and other pieces, including a microcontroller board and a ham radio DC power supply, into an open-source ventilator they expect to make publicly available in a matter of days.

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