At a time when ICUs are teeming with patients of the novel coronavirus, there is an unfortunate lack of ventilators in various hospitals. It need not be so, thanks to brands like Maingear and Foxconn, that have decided to dedicate a part of their manufacturing capability specifically to help hospitals tide over these difficult times.
Maingear is famous for manufacturing high-end and custom gaming PCs. The company has pledged to help New York City’s healthcare infrastructure through the timely manufacture and supply of the much-needed ventilators. Several hospitals are facing the crunch of demand at a time when the number of patients is going up on an exponential scale.
The company will also be scaling up its efforts towards producing more and more units to meet the soaring demands of the healthcare sector. In just a few weeks, the company had earlier manufactured a Maingear LIV ventilator that has the potential to be scaled up for almost a quarter of the price of the normal ventilators. The earlier LIV ventilator was its in-house production with inputs from medical advisers.
The LIV version was made of unconventional parts that greatly helped to bring its cost down. The Maingear LIV ventilator costs around $ 7500, which is peanuts when compared to the higher cost that goes as hefty as $ 50000. Rahul Sood, who is the adviser to the company, said that the main objective is to make a ventilator that is not just affordable but also easy to use.
The product features an “easy to use touchscreen interface” with the help of an Nvidia Shield tablet. The Maingear LIV ventilator makes use of a custom software and an almost negligible amount of power supplies. That is an added benefit given the cost of daily operation. The software of the device may also have an ability to allow for remote login to help doctors in looking after patients at a distance.
The remote login feature can be of immense value to doctors since they have got to look at multiple patients at one time. Maingear CEO Wallace Santos stated the possibility of the same in an interview with the Verge.
As per sources company has been eager to give away its ventilators as soon as possible once it gets FDA clearance. It reiterated that the company would do anything to address the scarcity of the product. The similar ventilators from Maingear should be up for distribution in as quickly as two weeks. Even Tesla had taken 1 month. It is both surprisingly and thankfully, half this time.
Earlier it was Tesla that had assigned to itself the task of producing ventilators for the people after a twitter request thread followed. The company has unveiled its prototype ventilator already. Its engineers are building ventilators for the corona patients out of parts used in cars! After New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for the brand’s help last month, Elon Musk had promised to build these.
It seems as if Maingear is not the only company to venture into making ventilators as the latest move. Foxconn will be making ventilators based on its PB-560 design. The ventilators should be produced in the coming four to six weeks. As per Medtronic CEO Omar Oshrak, the company has partnered with them. Medtronic shall be the health advisor and produce medical advice to Foxconn while they start production.
Foxconn has been encircled amid controversies after it came to surface that the Wisconsin plant had been receiving billions of dollars in tax subsidies. Named as a 10 Billion dollar LCD factory that was first announced way back in the year 2017, the company will be opening and starting operations next month. The company has decided to speed up the whole production time so that the medical devices can be made as soon as possible.
Medtronic had earlier open-sourced its design for its PB-560 ventilator. The design alone has garnered a total downloads’ count of over 70,000 times! The technical and medical teams from both the companies, Foxconn and Medtronic are working closely to speed up the work.
More and more companies in the US are joining hands with the healthcare sector to provide them with PPE. Take, for example, Apple’s face shield and General Motors and Ford’s ventilators. Ford is also expecting to produce around 50,000 of the ventilators in the target time of the next 100 days in the state of Michigan.
The need for personal protective equipment to be used by healthcare workers, doctors, and other staff have been skyrocketing. In addition to actually producing the ventilators, Tesla is also producing a part of Medtronic’s PB-980 ventilator.
Companies are coming together to help their states in times of crisis. Take, for instance, the British vacuum manufacturer Dyson. The company has decided to produce around 10,000 ventilators for the United Kingdom govt once its contract gets approved.