MTU engineers build three new open-source tools for COVID-19

September 22, 2020

Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab developed three new open-source tools in response to COVID-19: a high-temperature 3D printer, a firefighter PAPR mask and a printable, emergency-use ventilator.

Today, with the evolution of digital manufacturing technologies such as 3D printers and circuit milling systems, humanity can share designs with others who can then replicate medical-grade devices for the cost of locally sourced materials. When the team began these studies last spring, personal protection equipment (PPE) was in short supply, most PPE was one-use and disposable, and the demand for hospital equipment was greater than supply. So the MOST Lab focused on a printer that could make reusable face masks, respiratory equipment that could be custom fit for firefighters and an inexpensive design for a 3D-printed ventilator.

Joshua Pearce leads the MOST Lab and is the Richard Witte Endowed Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and a professor of electrical and computer engineering. His team intentionally made open-source designs, which have been published in a special edition of HardwareX dedicated to COVID-19 technology.

"The nature of these designs is such that desired features are relatively easy to add with the test using protocols and parametric design files provided," Pearce said. "Our hope is that such devices can be built upon by others to achieve full regulatory approval in all countries to ensure humanity is prepared for the next pandemic."

Specs for the high-temp 3D printer Cerberus:Specs for the powered air-purifying particulate respirator (PAPR) for firefighters:Specs for emergency-use ventilator:
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Michigan Technological University

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