Open Source Respirator and Low Cost Ventilator Efforts to Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Open Source Respirator Project

Mechanical Ventilator

NOTE: Nothing on this page is intended as medical advice. My only goal is to make information available so that people can get involved with co-innovation efforts and share resources that can be leveraged in crisis situations.

Calling all doctors, nurses, designers, engineers and designers…

Join one of the amazing Open Source Ventilator Projects to contribute your passion, creativity, time and expertise to help develop low-cost ventilators to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some ways of getting involved and some inspiration and some cheaper ventilator options:

  1. 13,000+ member Open Source Coronavirus Supplies group on Slack
  2. OPEN CALL closes 24 March at 9:00 GMT: Rapidly Manufactured Ventilated Systems
  3. March 19-20 University College London (UCL) Design & Refine Sprint Low Cost Ventilators — Register Now
  4. Ultimate Medical Hackathon
  5. Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies group on Facebook
  6. DIY Pandemic Ventilator (built during Avian Flu crisis and shared on Instructables)
  7. Story on OneBreath winning PopSci Innovation Award in 2010
  8. OneBreath company web site ($4,000 low cost respirator vs. $35,000 traditional solution)
  9. $500 pandemic ventilator from Canada
  10. Open Respirator Project on Github

Here is a video showing a DIY ventilator solution:

And here is a video from vacuum manufacturer Gtech in the United Kingdom (UK) showing a prototype they are working on to be entirely powered by the hospital oxygen supply in as simple a way as possible so they can hopefully meet the UK government’s call to make 30,000 ventilators in two weeks:

Just added another video highlighting an improvised design experiment the University of Minnesota is working on with some design partners:

The design team has made all of their designs shown in the University of Minnesota video – open source and available by clicking this REDDIT link

Here is an open source ventilator project out of Germany – The CORESPONSE – COvid19 RESPirator (Open Source):

Cost is about 75 Euros per unit and all of the details of this 3D printed open source project are available by clicking here.

Here is an article (click here) and a video detailing how to turn a snorkeling mask into a non-invasive ventilator:

AgVa Healthcare has produced a low cost ventilator starting at under $700 (according to the video) that leverages an app on the user’s smartphone to control its functions. Another great example of Indian ingenuity that was originally submitted as a comment on this article:

Below is a video from the Lemelson Foundation from 2015 that shares the story of how Matt Callaghan came to start OneBreath Ventilators to create lower cost ventilators for developing countries and the rest of the world after H1N1 Swine Flu never became a problem in the USA thanks to President Obama’s administration proactive steps to protect our country. (Learn more about the design process by reading this Stanford Byers Center for BioDesign article)

OneBreath Ventilator

UPDATE: Just found this video showing how to use one ventilator to save FOUR people – video from the United States’ Center for Disease Control (CDC) – all the details health professionals might need:

CAUTION, this from a doctor in Italy about risks of co-ventilating to be kept in mind as you group people to co-ventilate in a crisis situation:

“This is unfortunately not as good of an idea as it seems. In trauma and shootings, it’s one thing because lung compliance is unlikely to change quickly. However, in ARDS (and COVID19), we expect to have dramatic changes in lung compliance. When one patients lung compliance changes, there is a significant risk of underventilating the patient with lowest compliance and overventilating patients with highest compliance – both potentially deadly. I worry that instead of saving one person, you create a situation where you increase the odds of losing both (or all 4) patients“

BUT, according to Alexander Clarke you can solve this problem with flow restrictors…

Another article detailing previous research and considerations –

Vesper Prisma Health

VESper™ is a unique ventilator expansion device that allows a single ventilator to support up to four patients under emergency use authorization by the FDA during times of acute equipment shortages such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitals can apply to receive the free source code and printing specifications for the device, produced using 3D printing technology, the device is developed with material already in use for medical devices and produced at minimal cost:

  • designed to work with ISO standard respiratory connections;
  • allows for appropriate filtering of bacteria and viruses in the ventilator tubing;
  • does not impact the care of other patients connected to the same machine.

SPECIAL BONUS for anyone facing a shortage of protective face shields.

See this article From Design to Mass 3D printing of Medical Shields in Three Days, below is a video highlighting the end result solution from this article:

OR looking for information on DIY hand sanitizer, masks, and protective clothing:

  1. DIY Masks (including comparison of materials)
  2. World Health Organization (WHO) Information on Protective Clothing
  3. World Health Organization (WHO) Information on DIY Hand Sanitizer
  4. WIRED – How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Here is a video showing how to make your own reusable elastomeric respirator (click here for instrutions poster):

And here is a video discussing whether people should wear face masks and how people can use DIY face masks without impacting availability of N95 and surgical masks to healthcare workers:

Here is a video showing how to make face masks to help healthcare workers:

AND here is a link to a PDF of the pattern to make the masks –

Additional DIY mask videos can be found here –

Here is how to make a DIY Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) smock out of a garbage bag thanks to the people at Hefty:


Doctors and Nurses in Spain and other countries are already having to do this.

And, here is a picture of an ingenious idea of using a headband and buttons to save the ears of healthcare workers from chafing of wearing a mask 13-14 hours a day. Thanks Natasha Smith!

Coronavirus mask and headband solution

And, here is an interesting article about a surgical and N95 mask design that uses salt to help kill viruses like Coronavirus (COVID-19) on masks to improve their effectiveness in protecting the wearer against getting sick

Coronavirus Salt Masks

If you know of other efforts working on creating low cost, quick to produce ventilators, please post as a comment!

About Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Human-Centered Experience, Innovation and Transformation consultant at HCL Technologies, a popular innovation speaker, workshop leader, and creator of the Human-Centered Change™ methodology. He is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons and Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden is a US Navy veteran and earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
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32 Responses to Open Source Respirator and Low Cost Ventilator Efforts to Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  1. Pete Foley says:

    I’d add a build. From what I understand, many patients may not need a ventilator, but do still need oxygen. Maybe we also need to think about increasing supply/reducing cost of oxygen concentrators as well. If we can get those into peoples homes, or triage centers, as needed, that could be quite helpful?

  2. admin says:

    Thanks to Andrew White for this FYI, from the UK Health Secretary:

    “Dear all. Thank you so much for your support these past few days.

    You may have seen the PM’s call for a National Effort for Ventilator production. We have been inundated with offers – which is wonderful.

    We are now triaging these offer through the BEIS Business Support helpline which people can reach on 0300 456 3565. A specific team receiving these calls will start at 10am tomorrow.”

    For more info:

  3. New open innovation challenge from Massachusetts General Hospital:

    From the website: “Founded by residents at Massachusetts General Hospital, the CoVent-19 Challenge will be a completely virtual open moonshot competition hosted on Slack to develop a rapidly deployable mechanical ventilation solution.”

  4. admin says:

    Thanks Sarah! For everyone else, please scour the internet for any videos, articles, and web sites highlighting low cost, DIY , or open source ventilators or respirators for coronavirus and share as a comment here (even if non-english) – we are facing global shortages and we can all help even in this small way. Thanks!

  5. admin says:

    From my friend Kate Hammer:

    [Updating] Italian hospital saves Covid-19 patients lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices:

    3D Printed Ventilator Manifold for Connecting FOUR (4) Masks to One (1) Ventilator Might One Day Save Patients from Lung Damage:

  6. Prabha Rathinasabapathy says:

    A Harvard student launched Project Open Air on Slack on March 11. In 3 days, 2,500 specialists were gathered, to tackle all parts of the supply chain. Now, the number of participants has multiplied.

  7. admin says:

    From Lord Bethell in the UK:

    I know people are extremely keen to help.

    So we’ve set up dedicated hotlines for people to send in their ideas.

    #Vaccines :
    #Ventilators: 0300 456 3565 /
    #Innovation / #tech :

  8. admin says:

    From my friend Kate Hammer:

    UCL Healthcare Engineering has teamed up with Department for International Development (DFID) and other entities to develop low-cost ventilator technologies. The most immediate need is for participants with relevant, professional expertise as engineers, manufacturers, clinicians or intensive care technicians to join UCL Healthcare Engineering online for a Design & Refine Sprint on March 19 (Thurs) and March 20 (Fri). ***Online, virtual ***

    Matt Pattison, please can you share with the TEN network and your client networks?
    Professor Shafi Ahmed, can you share with available clinicians and intensive care technicians who *aren’t* exhausted on the frontline?
    Ben Hu, if the 8-hour time difference isn’t too onerous, could you join the design sprint? Or share with fellow anaesthesiologists who are on the East Coast of USA or in Europe?

    Everyone please share this post or make your own.

  9. admin says:

    From Silvia Hutz at Oracle:

    The European Commission says that applications are welcome from startups and SMEs with innovative solutions to tackle Coronavirus outbreak:

  10. marcial says:

    hello how to get the valves in stl and test them in the equipment here in chile, is it possible?

  11. admin says:

    Marcial – they have updated this article to say why they are not making STL files available, along with other details –

  12. admin says:

    From my friend Kate Hammer in the UK:

    From Design to Mass 3D printing of Medical Shields in Three Days

    It’s not a ventilator solution, but may be helpful nonetheless to people facing shortages out there. Stay safe!

  13. admin says:

    Here is an on demand manufacturing/3D printing company in case it is a useful resource to anyone that I came across via London Business School:

    1. Article about then in INC –

    2. Case Study and web site –

  14. admin says:

    If you’re facing shortages of Oxygen sockets, these two gentlemen in Sudan, turned a stethoscope into a 2-for-1 splitter –

  15. Bill Fienup says:

    mHUB has mobilize the broader Chicago tech community to develop proactive solutions to support with the Covid-19 effort. We have sent out an open call to our medical partners, local hospitals and greater community for problem statements and challenges around prototyping and manufacturing new technologies to support patient care, testing and worker safety. We have a couple open calls so far and have already put a team to develop a low cost ventilator.

  16. admin says:

    Just came across this coronavirus hackathon. Here is the link to check out:

  17. admin says:

    Ventilators are vital medical equipment for #COVID19 sufferers. But there are not enough to go around

    @DFID_UK ‘s Frontier Tech Hub is seeking Africa and S Asia innovators who have made ventilators, to adopt in UK

    To apply: #COVIDaction

  18. admin says:

    Here is a free app for people unable to speak because they’re on ventilators, allowing them to communicate with head movements. It is called Vocable:

    Apple AppStore –
    GooglePlay –

  19. admin says:

    An article on reusable masks out of South Korea via Fast Company magazine –

  20. admin says:


    We have drone stations with 20 drones each able to deliver healthcare, monitor cities, remind rules…available every week.

    This has a significant impact on flattening the curve and has proven to be successful.

    India, Portugal and Italy govs are already in contact with us.

    We can serve any other country like Spain, UK, France, Germany, Japan..

    Drones are from Manna in Ireland or ACSL in Japan and are hosted in the stations we build at EVA.

    First come first served.

  21. admin says:

    Dyson in collaboration with The Technology Partnership (TTP) designed a new ventilator in 10 days and plans to make 15,000 in the next few weeks – 10,000 for the UK and 5,000 to donate to the international effort to combat the virus (1,000 for the UK and 4,000 for other countries).

    Dyson is the famous maker of vacuum cleaners and more. For more information about TTP, go here –

  22. admin says:

    Just came across a new resource thanks to Michael Lewis in the UK (@OpsProf on Twitter) that highlights a lot of different Coronavirus (COVID-19) related startups:

    Lots of interesting ideas here. I encourage you explore around.

  23. admin says:

    (via Adam Malofsky)

    How Ford Is Using Seat Ventilation Fans to Build Thousands of Respirators

    An ingenious solution to provide needed aid to frontline emergency workers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  24. admin says:

    Innocentive is running an open source challenge should any scientists want to participate in defeating Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  25. Raj says:

    Low Cost Ventilator Solution out of India:

    Just check this out…

    For more information, visit

  26. admin says:

    M.I.T. is working on a low cost ventilator that can be built for about $100 and plan on posting designs soon –

  27. admin says:

    Texas ‘mom and pop’ business flooded with orders for helmet ventilators amid coronavirus crisis:

  28. admin says:

    New York Times jumped on board our train here (you might mind some other solutions in the article):

  29. admin says:

    A coworker’s eleven-year-old son shared this DIY mask video –

  30. Pingback: Open Source Respirator and Low Cost Ventilator Efforts to Fight Coronavirus (COVID-19) |

  31. Leonardo Zangrando says:

    Hi Braden,
    I designed and built this simple ventilator when I was worried that one family member could have caught COVID-19 and that there would not be enough resources in hospitals to take care for them. Fortunately at the end no-one caught COVID-19 at home, but I completed the prototype and a draft design anyways so that the project could be used in situations of extreme lack of resources. For this reason, the project does not involve any cool technology like 3D printing or laser cutting.
    I just created this github repository with a link to the plans and the code, tomorrow I will upload pictures and a video of the thing.

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