LifeMech is a non-profit volunteer organization with some of the brightest minds in engineering and medicine. Our charter is to design the first Adapted Ventilator System (A-VS) – an open-source ventilator design that can be built quickly, at low cost, using commonly available components and manufacturing capabilities.

The design will be open source and free for anyone to use, anywhere around the globe.*

LifeMech was created in response to the COVID-19 crisis of 2020.

No. LifeMech designs will be open sourced and free. Our goal is for our designs to be used by factories to create A-VS devices wherever the need is greatest.

As per our charter, no board members derive any compensation, and all donated funds will go directly to covering development and testing costs. LifeMech will not manufacture A-VS devices for profit.

LifeMech wants to help save lives around the world. It is important to us that those in need are able to build cost-efficient medical devices for use in hospitals and in the field.*

There are numerous similar efforts underway around the world. We are collaborating with some other open source projects to ensure that we can design the best device possible.

No. LifeMech is an independent non-profit organization.

No. We have many corporate sponsors and most of our volunteers are corporate leaders, but LifeMech is an independent non-profit organization.

Prototype builds, FDA submission, and clinical and safety tests will cost an estimated $65,000. We also need to purchase parts for creating reference units, amounting to $60,000, plus $10,000 for manufacturing (provided at cost by the manufacturer). Donated funds will go directly to covering these costs.

So far, volunteers have spent their own money buying components, supplies, and materials necessary to assemble the prototypes. In some cases, parts and components have been generously donated by companies interested in aiding our efforts. However, your donations are now desperately needed to help get LifeMech designs tested, approved, and into production.

There will still be a need for cost-efficient ventilators in emerging economies that may not be able to afford the high price tag of traditional ventilators. That is one of the many reasons LifeMech is making the plans for A-VS open source. These countries will be able to download the plans to create their own A-VS for use in their hospitals at a much lower cost than purchasing a ventilator.*

We have set up a Domestic Nonprofit registered in Oregon and begun the filling process with the IRS to be recognized as 501(c)(3). We expect to receive IRS approval thereby allowing your donation to be tax-deductible.*

*Consult with your accountant to confirm that your donation is deductible.

180+ people from multiple disciplines, multiple industries, and multiple companies. They have come together with a common vision of helping patients in critical need. Please see our Contributors page for more details.

LifeMech’s community of volunteers will continue its efforts to be proactive instead of reactive for future adaptable needs. If there is ever a need to shift to a different “adaptable system” in the future for other medical needs, LifeMech would consider shifting focus to that need by leveraging the groundswell of support we are receiving.

Please donate on our GoFundMe page. If you are interested in volunteering, please see our Contact Us page to email our volunteer coordinator.

The Ventilators

A ventilator is a machine that supports breathing, which has been approved by the appropriate regulatory authority. These machines mainly are used in hospitals. Ventilators:

  • Get oxygen into the lungs
  • Remove carbon dioxide from the body (Carbon dioxide is a waste gas that can be toxic.)
  • Help people breathe easier
  • Breathe for people who have lost all ability to breathe on their own

An Adapted Ventilator System (A-VS) is a simple and low-cost medical ventilator with an open-source design, enabling higher availability through rapid and local manufacturing worldwide where commercial ventilators are not available. An A-VS adheres to the following design principles:

  • It must be safe
  • It must fulfill the basic functions of a ventilator, including all necessary monitors, controls, and alarms
  • It must be able to be built quickly, at low cost, using commonly available materials, and using commonly available manufacturing tools
  • In the US the FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorization for use during the COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 can cause difficulty breathing, and severe cases can result in pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Ventilators are frequently necessary to keep the patient breathing, and patients may need to stay on a ventilator for several weeks. They are a critical and lifesaving tool for treating seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

The volume of COVID-19 victims that require ventilators have overwhelmed supply in many areas. Production is ramping up as quickly as possible, but ventilators are still expensive to make and require components that are in limited supply. Our goal is to design a ventilator that is safe and effective, but that can also be produced at comparatively low cost, using commonly available materials, and with commonly available manufacturing tools. By open sourcing an easily produced design, ventilators can be built closer to where the need is, without having to ship units across the globe (which may not even be possible if laws and regulations forbid it).

We have working prototypes and are on track to test the viability of these designs at the Oregon Health & Science University Medical School (OHSU) breathing lab. This will be followed by clinical trials. We are preparing a submission for approval by the FDA under the Emergency Use Authorization for use during the COVID-19 crisis by the end of April.

We don’t yet know how much an A-VS will cost, but ideally it will be as affordable as possible. Our design will be open source and freely available to any who want to manufacture it.

We do not yet know how long it will take to build an A-VS. Ease and speed of manufacture are design pillars, so ideally units will not take long to make.

Additional Resources

The John Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center 

The Center for Disease Control Coronavirus Homepage 

The World Health Organization Coronavirus Emergency Homepage

The World Health Organization Coronavirus Topics Homepage

*If you have access to the commercial grade ventilators, use commercial grade ventilators. The A-VS design is developed to fill the gap in the situations when commercial-grade ventilators are not available. If you have an interest in manufacturing devices based on the A-VS design, consult with your legal and regulatory advisors to ensure that you comply with any regulatory and legal regulations or requirements applicable to your territory/jurisdiction.