For the last three weeks, we have been crowdsourcing thousands of repair documents for hundreds of ventilator models. These machines are critical in the fight against COVID-19 but they’re breaking—or already broken by the time they reach the hospital. Biomedical technicians (usually known as “biomeds”) need to spend every minute they have fixing these machines and getting them back out on the hospital floors. Society needs that repair info to be there when the biomeds need it.
Along the way, we’ve talked with techs about the most common machines and repairs they encounter. As more and more manuals poured in, we focused our efforts on respiratory analyzers and anesthesia systems, which biomeds told us were going to see increased demand in the near future. We’ve expanded our ventilator repair database to include them.
Right now, we’re working on organizing the thousands of repair manuals we’ve received. We have 452 manuals for ventilators made by 58 different companies, 289 anesthesia systems service manuals online so far. These integrated anesthesia machines are being pressed into use as backup ventilators.
We’ve also got teams of engineering students from our local university, Cal Poly, working with our EDU team to turn these service manuals into step-by-step repair guides. We have even more volunteers standing by, ready to translate those guides into other languages. This will allow anyone, biomedical engineer or medical professional, to get the machines fixed and back to saving lives.
We have been thrilled at the response we’ve seen from the community for this project, and we’re grateful to everyone who has volunteered time, submitted manuals, and told their local biomeds about this project. It’s not clear how many are using this resource yet, but we’ve had about 40,000 ventilator views and we’ve heard of small successes. Our goal is to make this a robust, accessible resource to help medical professionals save lives.