Amid a critical shortage, pandemic ventilator inventor makes his design open source

Aries

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The London, Ont. man who came up with a potential low-cost solution to Ontario's critical shortage of ventilators is making his design for a pandemic ventilator freely available to anyone through an open source website.

Retired respiratory therapist John Strupat said he made the decision after failing to get any kind of serious consideration to make the life-saving device from federal governments in Canada or the United States.

"It's been two weeks," he said. "The pace is too slow. The [infection] numbers aren't even plateauing and I don't know what else to try."

Strupat is making his design open source at a critical time, as hospitals brace for a potential surge of Canadian COVID-19 cases and with it a cruel reckoning: there may be not enough ventilators to go around if the infection rate spirals out of control like it has in Italy or Spain.

Emails and phone calls such as those are the biggest impetus for Strupat to make his design freely available.

"Anyone from anywhere can look at the design and decide for themselves if they want to manufacture it or share ideas on developing this for their own country," he said.

Strupat said while his $500 design may not offer the same standard of care as the current $25,000 designs used at hospitals, his machine would save lives, even in a blackout.

"It will run three to four hours before the batteries die," he said. "If I had my choice, I'd rather be on that than nothing if it came down to it."

 
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