Digi-Key to Help Design Cheaper Hospital Ventilator

Digi-Key to Help Design Cheaper Hospital Ventilator

We can all quibble over the severity of COVID-19, but the hospital ventilator shortage is fairly incontrovertible. And industry is stepping up in various ways – Digi-Key just announced a collaboration with the University of Minnesota to make parts for low-cost respirators.

They say “necessity is the mother of invention,” and while Tesla, GM, Ford offered up their vacant factories to make hospital ventilators, and Dyson is trying to fix the U.K.’s ventilator shortage, Digi-Key and U of M are taking it a step further.

The U of M designed a respirator that apparently runs on car or windshield wiper motors, and their neo-vintage project (based on 1960s tech and Digi-Key parts) can produce ventilators for a mere $1,500. Existing designs run anywhere from $3,000 to $13,000.

“We're told that we could need tens of thousands of respirators. And so that is going to be a real challenge,” said Randall Restle, vice president of applications engineering at Digi-Key.

But the company plans to expedite the process.

“We hope by the end of the week that we can have hundreds. And we'd like to finish the design in order to have thousands of tens of thousands made next week,” he said.

Read more about this effort here: https://www.inforum.com/business/healthcare/5012359-Digi-Key-is-teaming-with-the-University-of-Minnesota-in-hopes-of-ending-the-ventilator-shortage