I’ve been interested in the discussions over the past months about the production of cheaper and even open-source ventilators. I was a bit disheartened buy so many companies (including space companies) jumping on the amrketing bandwagon to suggest they’ve produced usable ventilator designs - none of which I’ve seen to be true.
Ventilators are complex beasts, and looking into the details on how they can and should work is a valuable excercise in understranding how to use electrical and mechatronics experience and to combine it with medical understanding on how the human body functions.
Hint: It’s much more complex than inflating and deflating a mechanical lung, and once you see why you can understand why these devices are expensive to manufacture.
Luckily, it seems as though we don’t need as many of these to battle COVID as we thought a couple of months ago, but it has highlighted a valuable area in need of new R&D - medical and life support systems. THis is especially important both in frontier locations (whether deep in the ocean or beyond our atmosphere), and in order to battle inevitable future epidemics and pandemics.