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Sharing, Collaboration and Free Software Code to Tackle COVID-19

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  • Discover the open source, low-cost ventilator for areas with limited means

    A group of scientists and researchers have designed a open source, low-cost ventilator to be used in areas that have limited means within their healthcare systems.

    Researchers from the Biophysics and Bioengineering Unit of the University of Barcelona, Spain, have created an open source, non-invasive, low-cost ventilator, to support patients with respiratory diseases in areas with limited means.

    The study was led by Ramono Farré, professor of Physiology and member of the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and the Respiratory Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERES), and the results were published in the European Respiratory Journal.

  • Easy-to-Build $75 Open-Source Arduino Ventilator With High-Quality Performance

    Ventilator could support coronavirus treatment in low-income regions or where supplies are limited.

    A low-cost, easy-to-build non-invasive ventilator aimed at supporting the breathing of patients with respiratory failure performs similarly to conventional high-quality commercial devices, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

    Non-invasive ventilators are used to treat patients with breathing difficulty and respiratory failure, a common symptom of more severe coronavirus disease. Non-invasive ventilation is delivered using facemasks or nasal masks, which push a set amount of pressurized air into the lungs. This supports the natural breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail, enabling the body to fight infection and get better.

  • Harnessing the Open-Source Ventilator Movement

    As hospitals in developing countries struggle with ventilator shortages, engineers and doctors are coming together to launch open-source projects to help meet demand. WSJ takes a look at whether any of these plans could become real machines that help save lives.

  • Local, Open-Source Ventilator Project Plans to Build 200 ‘Bridge Ventilators’

    The Kahanu open-source ventilator project has received a $250,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to build bridge ventilators for state hospitals.

    A team of Hawai‘i engineers and an emergency room doctor are working to produce simple and effective bridge ventilators with funding from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, part of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF).

    Named Kahanu, which means “the breath” in the Hawaiian language, the ventilator is made of durable, sterilizable materials and can be produced in Hawai‘i for about $1,200 each, according to a project press release. Medical grade ventilators can cost more than $25,000 each.

    A Kahanu ventilator can serve as a “bridge ventilator” that can be enlisted in an emergency to save a patient’s life, the release said.

  • Longford man puts his skills to good use and designs an open source ventilator

    Since the lockdown began, there are plenty of people in the local community who are putting their time to good use to help others.

    One of those people is Finian McCarthy, who is an electronic engineer and the Managing Director of county Longford-based company, Envitec Ltd.

    Finian has been making the most of the time at home by designing and building an open source ventilator, which he says can be made cheaply and shared around the world so that others can replicate the design should there be an urgent need for ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Open-source ventilator designed by Cambridge team for use in low- and middle-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

  • Researchers design open-source ventilator for use in low- and middle-income countries

    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

    Built primarily for use in low- and middle-income countries, the OVSI ventilator can be cheaply and quickly manufactured from readily available components. Current ventilators are expensive and difficult to fix, but an open-source design will allow users to adapt and fix the ventilators according to their needs and, by using readily available components, the machines can be built quickly across Africa in large numbers. The cost per device is estimated to be around one-tenth of currently available commercial systems.

  • University of Cambridge designs open-source ventilator for African countries

    An open-source ventilator has been designed by a team at the University of Cambridge primarily for use in low and middle-income countries.

    In partnership with clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa, the focus was on the specific needs for treating Covid-19 patients and a fully-functioning system for use after the pandemic.

  • When Ventilators Run Short, a $500 Invention May Save Lives

    Ventilators have been difficult to find at any price, sometimes forcing doctors in jammed intensive care units to decide who gets the last one available. General Motors Co. was ordered last month by U.S. President Donald Trump to make the breathing machines to help fill the gap, and announced preparations for deliveries last week.

    [...]

    On April 1, Alkaher’s team published the design for the AmboVent-1690-108 on the online forum GitHub, allowing anyone to take the idea and run with it. AmboVent is busy producing 20 prototypes on a shoestring budget of $200,000, planning to send them to various countries where other developers will navigate the process of getting regulatory approval.

  • Open science takes on the coronavirus pandemic

    Data sharing, open-source designs for medical equipment, and hobbyists are all being harnessed to combat COVID-19.

    [...]

    Perhaps nowhere is that open ethos clearer than in the way do-it-yourself (DIY) and ‘maker’ communities have stepped up. As soon as it became clear that health systems around the world were at risk of running out of crucial equipment to treat people with COVID-19 and protect medical workers, DIY-ers set about trying to close the gap.

    Facebook groups such as Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies, which has more than 70,000 members, have become dispatch centres, through which hospital workers seek volunteers to print or make supplies, and volunteers trade tips on what materials to use and where to source them, and on sterilization procedures.

    The coronavirus crisis plays to 3D printing’s strong points — rapid prototyping and the ability to produce parts on demand anywhere in the world. Prusa Research, a manufacturer of 3D printers in Prague, has designed a frame for a face shield that is meant to be worn outside a mask or respirator to protect against infectious droplets. The company says it has the capacity to produce 800 shields per day, and tens of thousands of the devices are already protecting health-care workers in the Czech Republic. But because the company made its designs open-source, they are also being made around the world in maker spaces and homes.

    Formlabs, a 3D-printer manufacturer based in Somerville, Massachusetts, leads another project that has reached production: printing nasal swabs for COVID-19 test kits. Unlike common cotton swabs, nasal swabs must have a rod that is long and flexible enough to reach deep into the nose, to the upper throat. The swabs were designed by doctors at the University of South Florida in Tampa and the Northwell Health hospital system in New York, using printers purchased from the company to produce test versions. “They are prototyping it themselves, which is crazy and really awesome,” says Formlabs’s chief product officer, Dávid Lakatos. And whereas conventional swabs feature a bushy tip coating of nylon flock, the doctors devised a tip with an intricately textured pattern that is 3D-printed.

    But unlike face shields, these parts are beyond the capabilities of most printers used by hobbyists. “If someone tried to print the swabs on a hobbyist printer, they can really do harm” in a clinical setting, says Lakatos.

  • America Makes challenging community to innovate new COVID-19 solutions

    All submissions must be open-source designs.

  • Big Tech Signs Rare Open Source Pledge During Coronavirus [Ed: Greenwashing and openwashing of monopolies]

    One bottleneck to the mass production of critical goods, from antibody (or serology) tests to face masks, necessary to keep the public safe is copyright law. These chokeholds held over the world of atoms and the world of bits are preventing the appropriate response to a global pandemic, said Mark Radcliffe, a partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm.

  • Health minister now unsure if source code for COVID contact tracing app is safe to release

    Health minister Greg Hunt has put a question mark over whether a promise to release all source code for the federal government’s forthcoming COVID-19 contact tracing app is actually possible due to security concerns.

    Talking on Triple M Hobart’s ‘The Spoonman’ show with Brian Carlton on Tuesday, Hunt would not commit or back up Government Services minister Stuart Robert’s assurance last week that the full code of the app would be available for inspection.

    According to Hunt, the app will drop sometime next week.

  • Kyle Hiebert: In the COVID-19 world, open source textbooks are the way of the future

    For post-secondary schools, the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a paradigm shift in teaching and learning, as courses have migrated online. Because of this, universities now have the chance to save students huge sums of money by ramping up the creation and use of open educational resources (OER), particularly open textbooks.

    A sober look at the trajectory of the pandemic reveals that the prospects of in-person classes resuming as normal this fall are slim to none. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that living with COVID-19 is “the new normal” until a vaccine is found, which experts widely predict will take at least another year, if not more. The high probability of second and third waves of COVID-19 will likely prompt more intermittent lockdowns in the future, as is currently happening in Singapore, one of the countries that initially seemed to be very successful in its coronavirus response. Through this lens, widespread online learning must be seen as part of a new era of post-secondary education, not a short-term fix.

  • Open Access, Open Source, and the Battle to Defeat COVID-19

    No legal development over the past decades has had a greater impact on the free flow of information and technology than the rise of the open access and open source movements. We recently looked at how AI, machine learning, blockchain, 3D printing, and other disruptive technologies are being employed in response to the coronavirus pandemic; we now turn to how two disruptive legal innovations, open access and open source, are being used to fight COVID-19. Although the pandemic is far from over, there are already promising signs that open access and open source solutions are allowing large groups of scientists, healthcare professionals, software developers, and innovators across many countries to mobilize quickly and effectively to combat and, hopefully, mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

  • MIT Team Races to Fill COVID-19 Ventilator Shortage With Low-Cost, Open-Source Alternative

    An ad hoc team of engineers and doctors has developed a low-cost, open-source alternative, now ready for rapid production.

    It was clear early on in the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic that a critical need in the coming weeks and months would be for ventilators, the potentially life-saving devices that keep air flowing into a patient whose ability to breathe is failing.

    Seeing a potential shortfall of hundreds of thousands of such units, professor of mechanical engineering Alex Slocum Sr. and other engineers at MIT swung into action, rapidly pulling together a team of volunteers with expertise in mechanical design, electronics, and controls, and a team of doctors with clinical experience in treating respiratory conditions. They started working together nonstop to develop an inexpensive alternative and share what they learned along the way. The goal was a design that could be produced quickly enough, potentially worldwide, to make a real difference in the immediate crisis.

  • CURA shipping container ICUs open in turin to combat COVID-19

    as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads internationally, the first prototype of an open-source project to create plug-in intensive care units (ICU) from shipping containers has been built and installed at a hospital in italy. CURA (acronym for ‘connected units for respiratory ailments’ and also ‘cure’ in latin) proposes a quick-to-deploy solution to expand emergency facilities and ease the pressure on healthcare systems treating patients infected by coronavirus — (see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here).

    [...]

    CURA has been developed as an open-source project, with its technical specifcations, drawings and design materials made universally accessible online. since the project’s launch, more than 2,000 people have shown an interest and contacted the CURA team to join the project, reproduce it, or provide technical advice. more units are currently under construction in other parts of the world, from the UAE to canada.

  • Researchers in Europe Condemn Centralized COVID-19 Tracking Approach

    Two camps have emerged within the open-source COVID-19 tracking space in Europe. One solution, DP-3T, offers privacy-preserving benefits for citizens and is backed by over 300 scientists around the world. The other, PEPP-PT, is centralized and risks being repurposed for commercial uses or worse.

  • UC Team Builds Open Source COVID-19-Tracking App

    Developers have built a new smartphone app for tracing potential novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

    A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, announced the tool this week, describing it as potentially “instrumental” in the effort to trace and track infections, which is something governors have described as a vital step in reopening the economy. The tool is called TrackCOVID, and it is a free, open sourced app that its creators say also ensures the privacy of those who are potentially affected.

  • UN launches global ‘challenge’ for COVID-19 open source solutions

    The United Nations (UN) is organizing a global contest called “COVID-19 Detect and Protect” as part of the efforts to search for a solution to the coronavirus.

    The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)— the UN’s agency for development, and Hackster.io, the largest community of hardware and software developers, will be organizing the event which will be open until August 2020.

    The UN identifies COVID-19 as an “unprecedented global health and humanitarian emergency.” The organization also said the pandemic presents a massive threat and potentially devastating social, economic, and political crises that will be felt by many countries for many years to come

    The coronavirus pandemic can also reverse the progress made in tackling global poverty over the past 20 years, “putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of billions of people,” the organization said.

  • US researchers develop open-source ventilator for Covid-19 patients

    Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have developed a low-cost, open-source ventilator to address the shortage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Named Spiro Wave, a version of the ventilator is currently being produced by a consortium of partners, including 10XBeta, Boyce Technologies and Newlab.

    The aim is to rapidly fulfil the Covid-19-related ventilator requirements at hospitals in New York, followed by other hospitals across the US.

    Furthermore, the MIT team is working to refine the ventilator’s design to make it more compact and add a respiratory function.

    10XBeta, Vecna Technologies and NN Life Sciences are part of the project.

  • Why Open Source Is Seeing Higher Adoption During COVID-19 Crisis
  • 28 government covid apps not open source, cannot be checked for vulnerabilities

    Apart from Aarogya Setu, the Centre and state governments are using at least 28 mobile applications to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

    These apps have varied purposes — some disseminate information on cases, deaths and so on to users while others are used by officials to track people under quarantine.

    There is one common aspect to all of them: None of them is open-sourced.

    One of the most famous apps is the Centre’s Aarogya Setu, which collects users’ Bluetooth and location data to track their whereabouts and alert them if they come in contact with a covid-19 positive patient. The app, which has been controversial given privacy concerns, has been downloaded by over 7.5 crore people.

  • Open source: Boston Dynamics just opened up this robot tech to help tackle COVID-19

    Boston Dynamics has open-sourced some of its robotics technology to help protect healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.

    The robotics firm has developed a healthcare toolkit that it hopes will allow mobile robots to carry out essential functions that reduce the exposure of frontline healthcare staff to COVID-19.

  • These open-source projects are helping to tackle the coronavirus

    Since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic earlier this year, numerous countries have found themselves running short of ventilators. Ventilators, used in hospitals' intensive care units, are crucial to helping those worst affected by the virus to stay alive. They take on some of the work of breathing for COVID-19 patients who find themselves in respiratory failure. However, a number of innovative grassroots initiatives, built in weeks by altruistic engineers with distributed design methodologies and open-source licences, have sprung up to try and solve the shortage.

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