May 21, 2020
One of the most pressing shortages facing hospitals during the COVID-19 emergency is a lack of ventilators. These machines can keep patients breathing when they no longer can on their own, and they can cost around $30,000 each. A volunteer team of engineers, physicians, computer scientists, and others, centered at MIT, is working to implement a safe, inexpensive alternative for emergency use, which could be built quickly around the world.
The team, called MIT E-Vent (for emergency ventilator), was formed in response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students and faculty working in consultation with local physicians designed a simple ventilator device that could be built with about $100 worth of parts, although in the years since prices have gone up and the device would now cost $400 to $500 in materials.