Before I started working with DDS Integration, I used to work as a surgical technologist. Part of me misses being directly involved in the healthcare field. I try my best to keep up with the people from my past job and also read articles relating to healthcare. One that I came across recently was very cool and interesting. Medtronic (Which is a biomedical\healthcare engineering company) was in the news recently because Tesla’s CEO (Elon Musk) had discussions with the company about the automaker’s potential plans to build ventilator hardware in order to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Today it’s doing something potentially far more impactful. Medtronic is making available to anyone (yes anyone) the full design specifications, production manuals, and design documents for its Puritan Bennett (PB) 560 portable ventilator hardware.
The PB 560 ventilator has a number of advantages. One being that it’s a relatively compact and lightweight piece of equipment that can be easily moved around and installed for use in a range of different healthcare environments and settings. And it’s a design that was originally introduced in 2010, so it has a decade of qualified, safe medical use in treating patients.
There are plenty of efforts underway to produce ventilators and design new ventilators that manufacturers of other devices, like Dyson, can put into production. And others are trying to modify existing hardware to serve more patients. But this move by Medtronic makes freely available everything needed to ramp up new production lines at existing manufacturers around the world without any costs or fees owed to Medtronic.
It’s still obviously true that retooling a production line to build a different product is going to be an undertaking, no matter what kind of design specifications you’re starting with. But this initiative by Medtronic is also intended to provide the resources necessary for anyone looking at what they can build today — a blueprint to spawn new and innovative ideas. Manufacturers might be able to look at Medtronic’s proven design and engineer something they can build at scale relatively quickly that offers the same or similar performance characteristics.
Medtronic says the design is particularly well-suited for “inventors, startups, and academic institutions” looking to spin up production in short order and create their own adapted designs for rapid ventilator manufacturing to help doctors and patients dealing with COVID-19.
To me this is an incredible example of how people are coming together during this time of crisis to come up with real solutions. They are quite literally putting their money where their mouth is..(Ventilators, get it?) I digress. I think the news is doing a pretty lousy job of reporting all the good things that are going on right now. So reading that article gave me some encouragement that even though we are isolated, we truly are all in this together.