University of São Paulo engineering professors Marcelo Knörich Zuffo and Raúl Gonzalez Lima became friends while working together to create a low-cost ventilator out of items including plastic tubes and motorcycle batteries, reports Vice.
That something was INSPIRE, an open-license ventilator that can be assembled using relatively easy-to-find parts in just two hours and is based on open-source microcontrollers. It has the same functionality as many conventional ventilators, including the ability to regulate both the frequency of respiratory cycles and the ratio of oxygen to atmospheric air. And, while the standard market price for ventilators in Brazil is around $3,000, INSPIRE comes in at $200.
Both Zuffo and Lima are no strangers to developing medical technology. Zuffo has spent his career researching and designing advanced data visualization software for diagnosing pediatric cancer. Lima primarily researches biomechanics and electrical impedance tomography, a medical imaging technology often used to analyze lung ventilation.
What is new is their unlikely friendship. While the two both knew of and respected one another, they had never collaborated on a project and hardly even spoken before INSPIRE. In some ways, the two couldn’t be more different. Zuffo is talkative and loud; Lima is quiet and reserved. What joins them is their sense of purpose and belief that they can make a difference.
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