Covid-19: MakAir, a mass-producible open source artificial ventilator created in Nantes

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© MakAir

To fight against the Coronavirus, the collective Makers for life developed a simplified mechanical ventilation aid system. This amazing project which started in Atlantic France is supported by many industrials and health professionals. It aims to anticipate the shortage of respirators caused by the pandemic and to propose a low-cost alternative.

Everything started mid-march with a phone call from Quentin Adam (CEO of the tech company Clever Cloud) to Pierre-Antoine Gourraud (hospital practitioner and professor at the University of Nantes). 

The objective of the MakAir project was to invent a 3D printed open source ventilator for Covid-19 patients facing ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), in order to anticipate the shortage of ventilators in the world, and in particular, in the poorest countries.

24/7 R&D for several weeks

In just a few days, the project became an extraordinary demonstration of how open innovation and solidarity shine in Atlantic France. Initiated by Quentin Adam alongside four other entrepreneurs from Nantes, the collective Makers for Life gathered together more than 250 volunteers and many 3D printers. 

The project also received the generous support of industrials such as the electronics specialist Tronico, and financial aids from public authorities (including the Pays de la Loire region and the French state). 

With the help of dozens of health professionals, in particular from the Nantes University hospital, an incredible “hackathon” was led 24/7 for several weeks to design and build the first prototypes. The startup incubator Le Palace, in Nantes, hosted a multi-talented team which developed an innovative ventilator using a “software core” in order to reduce parts.

€1,000 ventilators ready for mass-production

Mass-production is already on track, thanks to the support of the CEA (the French alternative energy and atomic energy commission), and will be carried out by the major industrial groups Renault and Seb. The objective is to produce over a hundred machines before the end of April.

These ventilators are exclusively dedicated to face the Covid-19 crisis and are not intended to replace approved professional ventilators. The design is open source and they can be 3D printed if no industrial facilities are available. The estimated cost is €1,000, which is 10 to 40 times less than the available options on the market.

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