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AscensionX launched a crowdfunding campaign to build an artificial respirator

The four professionals behind the 3D electronics, modeling and printing studio AscensionX, in Longueuil, wanted to put their skills to work in the fight against coronavirus. How did they do it? Nothing less than helping to save lives. They are currently working to develop a prototype artificial respirator. AscensionX launched the “Save Every Life” crowdfunding campaign on the GoFundMe platform.



This picture show an oxygen tank.

The Saving Every Life project team is developing a device that could be deployed to support existing medical equipment to help fill the gap in this time of crisis.

While the situation is currently under control in Canada, other countries around the world are having difficulties in the fight with the pandemic. In New York State, there is concern about the lack of respirators.

“Nothing can replace a current artificial respirator, they are technological gems, excessively expensive machines, but we want to develop a device that could serve as basic equipment,” said Nicolas Fournier, a mechanical engineering technician.

Miguel Gagnon, mechanical engineer; Marie-Pier Théberge, artist with a doctorate in Études et pratiques des arts; and Guillaume Bourdon, artist with a master’s degree in visual arts, complete the team.

They responded to the Code For Life challenge, initiated by the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. They were chosen among the 65 best finalists, standing out among 1029 teams.

But beyond the competition, they want to carry out their mission.

If you want to find out more about the Saving Every Life project and how countries are trying to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, download our companion app. Born2Invest’s team of journalists gathers only the essential business news for you to keep informed.

The team is currently working on a first version of life support

“It’s a closed system. The air leaves the wall, goes to the patient, and the patient exhales it into a second tube,” explained Nicolas Fournier. In this breathing system, connectors are made, which fit together medical parts that already exist.”

Inside the connectors are sensors that record data about the air flowing through them. All the parts are designed using 3D modeling software and then sent to the 3D printer. The current prototype works mechanically: the mechanics support a breathing bag with a lever arm and a motor. The device also has a touch screen on which various parameters can be set.

The team refers to health professionals, including a respiratory therapist, to determine which parameters, for example, could be useful.

The testing stage

The team has started a series of tests to ensure the functionality and security of their creation. The device will first have to pass the resistance tests.

“The machine will be subjected to speed, time and pressure. If someone is intubated 7 days at 40 breaths per minute, that’s 400,000 pumping cycles,” said Nicolas Fournier. We must ensure that the machine does not fail.”

The support of medical professionals for this type of verification is essential. This will be followed by calibration tests.

The artificial respirators could be available in about a month

The cost of this artificial respirator is less than $1,000. The team estimated that it would cost $400 to replace certain parts between each patient. “It’s all equipment that can be purchased online,” explained Marie-Pier Théberge.

The Save Every Life team also wants to make available all the information needed to build this equipment, including the design of the parts, as well as the assembly and user guides.

By “pushing hard,” it would be possible to have a fully functional, ready-to-use artificial respirator certified by health professionals in about a month.

AscensionX has also designed two models of protective visors

“Thanks to fundraising, a Magog FMG contacted us to create a custom protective visor. They wanted a model with certain features, especially for comfort. It’s a more closed visor too,” said Marie-Pier Théberge.

The FMG ordered several of these visors and even referred the studio to other FMGs and CLSCs.

In the event of high demand, the Save Every Life team has already contacted a Canadian supplier to purchase the equipment. The production capacity is approximately 35 visors per day.

“It’s a more complicated model and therefore takes longer to make than other models currently on the market,” compares Nicolas Fournier. We focused more on quality than speed.”

The studio would like to acquire new equipment to increase its production capacity.

AscensionX launched a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe

AscensionX has launched the “Save Every Life” fundraising campaign on the GoFundMe platform. Getting the equipment and devices needed to design a life support system can quickly become expensive. The studio already has three high-end 3D printers and a few secondary devices. Purchasing a 3D digitizer could be very useful.

“When you want to improve a project, you don’t know the costs. Thanks to the collection, if we need to buy items quickly, we don’t have to dig into our pockets. We know that it will cost us more than expected,” said Marie-Pier Théberge, who thanked donors for their generosity.

No matter what it costs them, they are determined to carry out their project and make a difference.


(Featured image by blickpixel via Pixabay)

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First published in Le Courrier du Sud, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Anthony Donaghue writes about science and technology. Keeping abreast of the latest tech developments in various sectors, he has a keen interest on startups, especially inside and outside of Silicon Valley. From time to time, he also covers agritech and biotech, as well as consumer electronics, IT, AI, and fintech, among others. He has also written about IPOs, cannabis, and investing.