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COVID and Free/Libre Devices/Designs

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  • Duke Creates Open-Source Protective Respirator
  • Duke University creates open-source protective respirator
  • Duke creates open-source protective respirator

    A protective respirator created by a Duke University medical and engineering task force is now being used by Duke Health doctors as they treat patients with suspected cases of COVID-19.

  • How biosurveillance and Open Source technologies are jointly contributing to fight COVID-19

    The biosurveillance system, DE4Bios, currently in use in the Veneto region, is based on the Digital Enabler platform and relies on various of its features. The Digital Enabler is a data-driven, native cloud, ecosystem platform designed by Engineering’s R&D Labs. Today, it is one of the few fully functioning, ready-to-use, cloud ecosystem platforms available on the market.

    As an “ecosystem” platform, the Digital Enabler empowers new data economy business models to flourish, fostering innovation and enhancing existing capabilities. Thanks to FIWARE Open Source technology, solutions can be built to address emergency situations in a short amount of time. These solutions are easily replicable and can be adopted and used by different regions and nations.

  • KarmSolar, Karm Construction provide open source design of Covid-19 field hospital

    KarmSolar and Karm Constructions have partnered with 25 January Hospital to launch an initiative, entitled “Egypt Care”, to provide open source design of a field intensive care hospital for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

  • Open-source medical supplies battle COVID-19

    While health authorities focus on top-down measures to get COVID-19 supplies to hospitals in need, home-grown initiatives are enlisting regular people to create open-source equipment. Rather than wait for the impact of government efforts to persuade manufacturers to move into emergency production of ventilators and protective equipment, the sharing economy is already saving lives with home-made masks and 3D-printed ventilators.

    A dearth of adequate medical supplies was implicated in an increase in coronavirus mortality in Italy, compared with Germany and South Korea, where supply was adequate.

  • Covid-19: Creatives Join Forces to Make Open-source Garments

    Creatives in the fields of design, fashion and communication of Antwerp, Belgium have formed a collaboration to fight against the Coronavirus. They’re tackling the urgent demand from healthcare workers for protective isolation gowns and coveralls.

  • UF Researchers Develop Low-Cost, Open Source Ventilator
  • Where the Hell Are the Ventilators? Here’s the List of 80 Open Source Projects, Scored and Ranked

    “The government agencies right now probably don’t understand our point of view that an open source project is more trustworthy because it can be vetted by an enormous number of people, and it can be done independently.”

    “Instead of building ventilators, what people need to do is to modularize the ventilator project itself, so that your typical Make: magazine reader can work on a small part of the ventilator, not be responsible for the whole ventilator themselves.”
    “You can’t have these all built in one place and get them to where they’re needed.”

    “One thing that is important to understand for the average maker who wants to consider this is many of these designs might not be COVID-19 suitable. Unfortunately, even the doctors are unclear on exactly what is needed and they’re learning things every week.”

    “We’ve proposed a process for how we could open source the verification of these ventilators as well. So the idea here is in order to convince, rightfully skeptical, medical administrators or the government that something works, you have a high burden of proof in this case.”

  • Tracking and ranking open source ventilator projects

    Make: founder Dale Dougherty and executive editor Mike Senese talked with a number of people about "the state of open source ventilator options, and propose a modular system to allow for more effective community support in addressing ventilator shortages."

  • Hack the Crisis: Open-source ventilator to battle COVID-19
  • How to Make a Ventilator

    To combat the coronavirus pandemic, DIY makers and companies are scrambling to create open-source ventilators. Here's what they're up against.

  • Radio Amateurs Contribute to Development of Open-Source Ventilators

    At a time when ventilators critical to treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are in short supply, a dedicated group of radio amateurs is making important contributions to an effort to bring a low-cost human ventilator to market as quickly as possible.

  • Renesas creates open-source ventilator system reference design

    Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE:6723), a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, introduced a new open-source ventilator system reference design that customers can use to swiftly design ready-to-assemble boards for medical ventilators. Many regions are experiencing a critical shortage of ventilators as COVID-19 infections continue to rise and hospital demand exceeds supply.

  • Renesas Electronics Creates Open-Source Ventilator System Reference Design to Fight COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Renesas Releases Open-Source Ventilator System Reference Design

    In an effort to help combat the COVID-19 virus, Renesas released a new open-source ventilator system reference design. Its purpose is to design ready-to-assemble boards for ventilators.

  • Standard Issue creates open-source design for CNC-cut face mask

    Brooklyn design agency Standard Issue has created an open-source design for a face mask that can be CNC-cut and produced on a large scale.

    Standard Issue's product, called One Mask, is designed so it can be produced by companies that have access to automated cutting and seaming technologies, such as manufacturers for furniture, fashion and sportswear brands.

    The face mask is not intended to be medical grade but instead aims to help ramp up the production of masks for use by the public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged everyone living in the US to wear a face cover whenever they are outside of their homes to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

  • Tolomatic Inc. develops open-source, low-cost ventilator actuation prototypes for COVID-19 patients

    Tolomatic, a global leader in linear motion technologies, has applied its expertise to develop automation solutions for manual resuscitators, which are needed worldwide to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Tolomatic’s solution is a new type of ventilator that operates using an electric linear actuator. These prototypes automate a non-invasive, positive-pressure resuscitator (also self-inflating bag, bag valve mask or ‘AMBU’ bag/Artificial Manual Breathing Unit). The device, used primarily in emergency situations when traditional ventilators are not available, provides oxygen to patients requiring breathing assistance. The bag valve mask is positioned over the patient’s nose and mouth. An assistant manually squeezes the bag to provide airflow via a combination of ambient air and an oxygen cylinder and connecting tube. Squeezing the bag manually is workable for short durations, but not viable for longer term care. It can also create air flow inconsistencies, as well as require extra time and labor to stabilize the patient. Tolomatic’s approach is to automate this traditionally manual process using their electric linear actuators and insure patients would continue to get air for days or weeks.

  • Coronavirus, meet the University of Minnesota’s Coventor ventilator

    The design came together overnight, and took 30 days to perfect: a portable desktop ventilator that costs $1,000 or less to manufacture and can function with or without access to compressed air.

    On Wednesday morning, the Federal Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization to the Coventor, which is intended to be a relatively low-cost back-up for hospitals and nursing homes if they run out of professional-grade ventilators.


    The U of M has made the design available to manufacturers open source, meaning any company across the globe with means can produce the Coventor.

  • Raspberry Pi: Popular single-board computer harnessed for open-source ventilator

    Brought to our attention by the BBC and CNX Software, the Mascobot is not your ordinary Raspberry Pi project. Designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mascobot is the work of Marco Mascorro, a robotics engineer from California. Utilising a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino and off the shelf parts, Mascorro has published the files for the Mascobot on GitHub.

    However, it is unlikely to be ready to treat patients during the current pandemic. Nonetheless, Colombian authorities have fast-tracked tests, with the Pontifical Xavierian University and Los Andes University hoping to start human trials by the beginning of May.

  • Open source “pandemic ventilator” based on the Raspberry Pi

    A robotics engineer, Marco Mascorro, said he built the “pandemic ventilator” because he knew the machines were in high demand to treat COVID-19. In a recent tweet, Mascorro said he was “glad to see Elon Musk and Tesla working on this as well.”
    He told the BBC, “I am a true believer that technology can solve a lot of the problems we have right now specifically in this pandemic.”
    The design and computer code were made available online in March, meaning anyone can use or modify it.

  • ESP RainMaker Eases Cloud Integration & Mobile App Development for ESP32-S2 SoC

    Since you’d need an ESP32-S2 board that mostly means ESP32-S2-Saola-1 at this stage, and that’s exactly the board the company’s used in its getting started guide, where you can also learn how to modify the firmware and use the command line tools.

  • Altium Has Its 2kicad Moment

    Around these parts we tend to be exponents of the KiCad lifestyle; what better way to design a PCBA than with free and open source tools that run anywhere? But there are still capabilities in commercial EDA packages that haven’t found their way into KiCad yet, so it may not always be the best tool for the job. Altium Designer is a popular non-libre option, but at up to tens of thousands of USD per seat it’s not always a good fit for users and businesses without a serious need.

  • COVID-19: Dow makes simplified face shield design open source
  • Dow Chemical Files Open-Source Face Shield Design
  • Dow develops simplified, lightweight design for face shields to help protect healthcare professionals, shares open-source design to encourage additional production
  • CPF initiative, EU project join hands to produce open-source designs for medical equipment

    In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the EU-funded Luminus Shamal Start project has joined forces with TechWorks, a Crown Prince Foundation (CPF) initiative, to support the healthcare system in Jordan by producing open-source designs for medical equipment, the EU announced on Thursday.

    In a statement, the Delegation of the European Union to Jordan said that this cooperation comes with the aim of creating swift and innovative ways of addressing the COVID-19 crisis, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

Intel: P-State and Possible Performance Degradation On Linux

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  • Intel P-State Driver Preparing To Default To Passive Mode For More Systems

    Currently being tested ahead of the Linux 5.8 kernel cycle is a change so the Intel P-State CPU frequency scaling driver will begin defaulting to its passive mode for systems without hardware-managed P-States.

    P-State's passive mode will become the default for more systems on Linux 5.8 if this change is not reverted. The passive mode causes P-State to behave like a conventional CPUFreq scaling driver and feeds all of the optimized configuration bits into CPUFreq, such as all of the available P-States. More details on the active vs. passive mode difference for P-State via this updated documentation.

  • An Intel Engineer Has Another Optimization For Possible Performance Degradation On Linux

    Besides the long-running FSGSBASE patch series that has the ability to help the performance for CPUs going back years, another engineer on Intel's open-source team has been working on a separate but enticing patch in the name of performance.

    The latest Linux performance work to talk about is Kirill Shutemov having posted a patch on Thursday to allow restoring large pages after fragmentation. This direct mapping fragmentation can degrade performance over time.

Devices/Embedded: Hardware With GNU/Linux Support and Latest on Raspberry Pi

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  • Rugged Apollo Lake computer has four mini-PCIe-based expansion slots

    Wixom, Michigan based Acromag has announced a compact, fanless data acquisition computer called the ARCX1100. The system meets military requirements for SWaP-C (reduced Size, Weight, Power, and Cost) for vetronics, C4ISR, payload management, and command and control for drones and robotics. Non-military applications include industrial and mobile embedded applications including test and measurement, data acquisition and control, communications, avionics, simulation, and signal processing.

  • Lilbits 387: Updates on the PinePhone, Ghost Canyon NUC, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite

    Pine64 has been making Raspberry Pi-like single-board computers for a while, but over the past few years the company has become one of the most interesting players in the cheap Linux computer space.

    The company’s PinePhone is a $150 smartphone designed to run GNU/Linux software. The PineBook Pro is a $200 Linux laptop with specs that are at least twice as good as those for the company’s older sub-$100 Linux laptop. And the company is also working on a cheap, open source-friendly tablet and smartwatch.

    The latter two are still very much works in progress — but you can read about the progress being made on the software and hardware for all of those devices in the Pine64 April Update published this week.

  • Palm-Sized Chuwi LarkBox Mini PC Packs a Celeron N4100 Processor, 6GB RAM, and 128GB Storage

    There’s no word about the operating system, but I’m pretty sure CHUWI will ship the computer with Windows 10 Home 64-bit. But if you’d been reading Linuxium reviews about Gemini Lake mini PCs you’ll know those can also run Ubuntu 18.04 and other Linux distributions fairly well. 4K video playback in Kodi and YouTube does work, but usually a bit better in Windows where results also vary depending on your web browser and video codec.

  • XCY X41 Mini PC Is Powered by an Intel Core i7-10510U Comet Lake Processor

    XCY X41 mini PC ships with its 110/220V power adapter, regional power cord (EU, AU, UK or US), a user manual & a warranty card. The mini PC is said to support Windows 10, Windows 8, and Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.

  • Special offer for magazine readers
  • Printing at home from your Raspberry Pi

Open Hardware/Devices With GNU/Linux

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  • Linux-driven SBC features RK1808 with 3-TOPs NPU

    Boardcon’s “EM1808” SBC runs Linux on a 1.6GHz Cortex-A35 Rockchip RK1808 with a 3-TOPS NPU. Features include GbE, WiFi/BT, M.2 with SIM, MIPI-DSI and CSI, GbE, 4x USB, 4x mics, and 3x audio DAC outputs.

  • Toughened up Coffee Lake computer family includes a PCIe x16 model

    Ibase unveiled a rugged, Linux-friendly “AMI230 Series” of embedded PCs with 8th and 9th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs, 4x GbE with PoE+, 8x USB 3.1, and 2x M.2 SSD slots. The larger AMI231 adds PCIe x16 and x4 slots and a second SATA bay.

    The fanless, ventless, AMI230 series follows Ibase’s similar Intel 6th and 7th Gen AMI210 Series, but updates to the 8th and 9th Gen Coffee Lake platform. The base-level, 285 x 210 x 77mm AMI230 and more expandable, 285 x 210 x 109mm AMI231 also widen the temperature range, double the GbE port count to four, and add PoE+ support to two of the ports, among other enhancements.

  • Facebook + Intel Get Open-Source FSP Booting On Xeon Scalable

    Since the end of 2018 I have been reporting on Intel working on open-sourcing their firmware support package (FSP) and while it has taken brutally long, it looks like they are making progress and have been collaborating with Facebook on the effort as part of their Open Compute Project.

  • Renesas delivers open-source ventilator system reference design

    Renesas Electronics has released a new open-source ventilator system reference design that customers can use to swiftly design ready-to-assemble boards for medical ventilators.
    “Renesas’ engineers have created a ventilator system reference design to address the challenges our global community faces as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chris Allexandre, Senior Vice President, IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit at Renesas. “Leveraging our broad product portfolio and system design expertise, we are enabling customers to accelerate their development of medical ventilator systems capable of operating in a home or hospital environment.”

    Renesas’ engineers have followed several open-source ventilator designs, including the Medtronic PB560 , to come up with an easy to assemble three board ventilator design. It controls the tidal volume and mixture of gas delivered to the patient while monitoring the patient’s status. The ventilator is portable and can be used with or without gas tanks. In addition, a humidifier can be connected to the ventilator’s intake path to soothe the patient’s breathing, making it more comfortable to be connected for long durations.

BreadBee: A tiny alternative to the Raspberry Pi Zero that supports Linux and costs just US$10

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The BreadBee is an ultra-compact board for developers. Measuring in at just 32 x 30 mm, the BreadBee is considerably smaller than other SBCs like the Raspberry Pi Zero. The BreadBee is rather tall though as developer Daniel Palmer has included an Ethernet port. The RJ45 port can transmit data at up to 100 MBit/s. The BreadBee does not support Wi-Fi, but a future model may have an Ampak Wi-Fi module in place of the Ethernet port.

The BreadBee is based on an MStar MSC313E processor, which integrates an ARM Cortex-A7 core with NEON and FPU that runs at 1.0 GHz. There is also 64 MB of DDR2 RAM and 16 MP of SPI NOR flash memory.

Additionally, Palmer has included two multi-pin headers. Specifically, there is a 24-pin dual-row header with a 2.54 mm pitch on one side, which support SPI, I2C, UART and GPIO. On the reverse, Palmer has included a 21-pin header with a 1.27 mm pitch that supports SD/SDIO, USB 2.0 and GPIO.

Read more

AMD: Linux audio, AMDVLK, Academy Software Foundation (ASWF)

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  • Linux Seeing Fixes For AMD TRX40 Motherboard Audio Issues

    Various patches are pending for improving the Linux support for onboard audio with motherboard sporting the AMD TRX40 chipset for 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper systems.

    There are a number of known issues at present affecting the integrated audio on numerous TRX40 motherboards including the likes of the MSI TRX40 Creator, ASUS ROG STRIX, ASUS ROG Zenith II, Gigabyte TRX40 Aorus Pro, and others.

  • AMDVLK 2020.Q2.1 Released With AMD Renoir Support

    AMD released today their first update of the quarter for their open-source AMDVLK Vulkan Linux driver.

    AMDVLK 2020.Q2.1 is now available for this Vulkan driver derived from their official cross-platform Vulkan driver sources. The notable addition with the 2020.Q2.1 update is initial support for Renoir hardware with the Ryzen 4000 series laptops now shipping. Renoir hardware has 7nm Zen 2 processors with Vega graphics that should now be playing well under AMDVLK paired with a new enough Linux kernel. I am still working on getting my hands on a Renoir laptop but availability has been quite limited to date.

  • AMD Joins Academy Software Foundation as a Premier Member
  • AMD and DockYard join Academy Software Foundation

    The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), a collaborative effort to advance open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, a neutral forum for open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, today announced that AMD has joined the Foundation as a Premier member and DockYard as a General member.

    The Academy Software Foundation also announced today that Open Shading Language (OSL) has joined as the Foundation’s sixth hosted project. Initially developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Open Shading Language is the de facto standard shading language for VFX and animation and was recognized with an Academy Scientific and Technical Award in 2017. You can read the announcement here: Open Shading Language Joins Academy Software Foundation.

  • Open Shading Language Becomes Sixth Academy Software Foundation Project [Ed: 'Linux' Foundation proudly outsourcing code to proprietary software prison of Microsoft]

    The Academy Software Foundation will maintain and further develop the project with oversight provided by a technical steering committee. All newly accepted projects, including Open Shading Language, start in incubation while they work to meet the high standards of the Academy Software Foundation and later graduate to full adoption. This allows the Academy Software Foundation to consider and support projects at different levels of maturity and industry adoption, as long as they align with the Foundation’s mission to increase the quality and quantity of contributions to the content creation industry’s open source software base.

Devices: Raspberry Pi Zero, Teletype, ADLINK, GNU Radio/SDR Transceiver

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  • Raspberry Pi Zero Production Ramped up for Ventilators

    With the (potential) shortage of ventilators due to COVID-19 pandemic, people have been working together to create cheaper and/or open-source ventilators, and we previously covered a smartphone-powered ventilator, as well as an open-source Arduino ventilator.

    It should come as no surprise some companies have started to make ventilators powered by Raspberry Pi boards.

  • Logging Into Linux With A 1930s Teletype

    Buried deep within all UNIX-based operating systems are vestiges of the earliest days of computing, when “hardware” more often than not meant actual mechanical devices with cams and levers and pulleys and grease. But just because UNIX, and by extension Linux, once supported mechanical terminals doesn’t mean that getting a teletype from the 1930s to work with it is easy.

    Such was the lesson learned by [CuriousMarc] with his recently restored Model 15 Teletype; we covered a similar Model 19 restoration that he tackled. The essential problem is that the five-bit Baudot code that they speak predates the development of ASCII by several decades, making a converter necessary. A task like that is a perfect job for an Arduino — [Marc] put a Mega to work on that — but the interface of the Teletype proved a bit more challenging. Designed to connect two or more units together over phone lines, the high-voltage 60-mA current loop interface required some custom hardware. The testing process was fascinating, depending as it did on an old Hewlett-Packard serial signal generator to throw out a stream of five-bit serial pulses.

  • ADLink Launches Vizi-AI Development Starter Kit for Industrial Machine Vision & Artificial Intelligence

    ADLINK has recently launched Vizi-AI development starter kit for industrial machine vision and artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge in collaboration with Intel and Arrow Electronics.

  • Pluto Might Not Be A Planet, But It Is An SDR Transceiver

    In this post, I’m going to show you how you can use GNU Radio to make a simple Morse code beacon in the 2m ham band.

News About Google-Branded Laptops With Chrome OS (Chromebooks, GNU/Linux)

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  • How the Play Store could become Google’s one-stop-shop for all your Chromebook apps

    I was very excited to post about the arrival of two very significant apps last week in the Play Store. Well, not the arrival of those apps, per se, but the arrival of their PWA counterparts in place of the standard offer Android APKs. The two apps highlighted were YouTube TV and Twitter, and both services have fantastic Android apps and PWAs alike that have been available on Chromebooks for some time now. In the case of both apps, if you wanted the Android version on your Chromebook, you went to the Play Store for the install and if you wanted the web app (PWA) version, you went to the URL and clicked the install icon in your omnibar.

  • Google's grand Chrome OS plan is finally coming into focus

    Maybe it's an inevitable side effect of growth — or maybe just the piecemeal manner in which Google's Chrome OS platform has expanded — but Chromebooks today have so many program-running possibilities, it's damn near impossible to keep 'em straight. The computers can still run web apps, of course, just like in their earliest days, but they also now support the similar-looking-but-more-powerful progressive web apps, the on-their-way-out-but-still-present Chrome apps, the familiar-from-your-phone Android apps, and even the clunky-but-capable Linux apps. Sheesh!

OpenLung, an open-source Ventilator to combat COVID-19

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The world has come to a standstill in the past few months. Every country is grappling with a crisis the likes of which they haven’t encountered since the last world war.

Scientists have for years been warning us of the high likelihood of a never-before-seen virus swiftly blowing up into a pandemic. Most world leaders disregarded it as one-in-a-billion black swan event, but here we are today facing beyond-our-wildest-dreams consequences of their lack of imagination.

In these demoralizing times, a group of volunteers is presenting their design for an open-source ventilator that can be manufactured in a short period using economical parts. Let us appreciate their contribution and spread the word about their low-cost alternative to expensive ventilators.

Read more

COVID-19 Stories

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  • UNDP and partner to launch a global innovation challenge to tackle COVID-19

    The fight against COVID-19 is at a crucial tipping point, so the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and, an Avnet company and the largest online open-source technology hardware community, are taking action. The two organizations have partnered to launch the COVID-19 Detect and Protect Challenge to create open-source technology that developing countries can leverage in the fight against this global pandemic.

    The new design challenge is a call to action for all hardware and software developers, product designers, scientists, hackers, makers, innovators and inventors to come up with innovative ideas to cost-efficiently support COVID-19 response efforts in developing countries. There will be prizes and recognition awarded to the top ten solutions, and Avnet will provide support to accelerate the winners’ time to market by offering business consultation and access to engineering, design and manufacturing resources.

  • How young people can help fight COVID-19 with code

    The passions mentioned above stem from a deeply personal journey: My children and I are victims of parental kidnapping, and access to the internet and digital literacy are my pathways to being a mother from afar. My children, Zahra (age 13), Zahran (15), and Youmna (18), are safe and healthy, and we are frequently connected. They're living the same life youth all over the world are living these days, trying to social distance and remain in good health while figuring out this school thing (or lack thereof)—only one of my children has access to formal virtual learning during to COVID-19 school closures. The other two, without school-driven online learning options, tend to stay up all night playing Fortnight and making TikTok videos.

    I have always been passionate about digital inclusion and empowering the world through computer science, and the effects of COVID-19 have increased my desire to make a difference. About four years ago, I created a non-profit organization, MentorNations, to inspire youth and the world via technology. My non-profit has taught tens of thousands of young people in 12 countries to code. In my work at IBM as a developer advocate, I focus on empowering early-stage entrepreneurs, developers, and students with access to tech skills, professional development, and entrepreneurial thinking. My major focus areas include inspiring students to discover their career potential in enterprise computing while recognizing that we are all ANDs and not ORs.

  • Duke Creates Open-Source Protective Respirator

    A protective respirator created by a Duke University medical and engineering task force is now being used by Duke Health doctors as they treat patients with suspected cases of COVID-19.

    In an effort to combat the worldwide shortage of protective medical equipment, Duke is making the design widely available as an open-source design. (See link at end of story.)

    “We have these helmets that we wear during arthroplasty surgery (joint repairs) and we started to wonder, ‘Can these be repurposed?’ ” said Duke orthopedic spine surgeon Melissa Erickson, who first had the idea.

    Duke engineering professors Ken Gall, Paul Fearis and Eric Richardson tackled the task of turning the surgical helmet, which uses room air, into a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR), which uses filtered air. The Duke Engineering team worked closely with Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab, which has 65 3D printers, to print and test numerous prototype designs.

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