- A new competition from two Montreal hospitals seeks a simple, low-cost ventilator design amid a shortage due to COVID-19.
- The winning team gets $200,000.
The Montreal General Hospital Foundation has teamed up with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) to launch a global challenge inviting inventive minds to solve one of the greatest struggles in the world's current battle against COVID-19. These two Montreal hospitals are "calling for teams to design a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and easy-to-maintain ventilator which could be deployed anywhere needed to save lives."
The challenge is backed by a $200,000 prize and the top three designs will be available for free download "to anyone who needs them, saving lives immediately."
The hope is that this challenge will bring forth innovative ideas that can "serve the COVID patients, in an emergency timeframe."
For this reason, it needs to be "easy to build locally, must be easy to verify its functionality, and [it] must meet the design requirements."
Experts in mechanical ventilation methods have been invited to join the advisory panel, which currently includes professionals from McGill, Yale, the University of Toronto, and St. Michael’s Hospital.
Each team must be made up of "at least one relevant medical professional with publicized credentials (proof of right to practice) and one relevant technical/engineering professional with credentials to approve safety requirements."
Teams must submit their designs by March 31, when the jury will begin the review process. On April 15, three designs will be endorsed by the hospital after validation from the panel of experts.
The top three designs will then become available for download and the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, along with RI-MUHC, will "track [the] number of verified implementations and feedback on the designs, and determine the most impactful design as the winner."
The Challenge page, hosted by Agorize, explains the desperate need for ventilators.
"With potentially 70% of the population on the brink of being infected by COVID-19, our worldwide health care systems will be strained beyond their limits. Even now, there aren't enough ventilators to save everyone who needs respiratory support, and doctors are having to make agonizing decisions about who to save."
"Our modern world provides the means to produce these life-saving ventilators thanks to widespread rapid manufacturing tools—3D printers, CNC machines— combined with low-cost computers (i.e. smartphones, Arduinos, etc.), but what we're missing is a design."
If you or someone you know has a knack for engineering or has the right to practice medicine and an idea that could solve the current global lack of ventilators, this is your chance to shine.
Plus, you could also potentially save thousands of lives.
To find out all the details, rules, and more, head to the Agorize challenge page here.