Ventilator Shortage Sparks Technology Partnership Between RespiraWorks and ICS

Ventilator nonprofit composed of volunteer engineers taps ICS to create embedded touchscreen for low-cost, long-term use ventilators in developing countries.
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA and BOSTON, MA — May 14, 2020 — RespiraWorks, a nonprofit innovator of ventilators for developing countries, and Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS), creators of sophisticated embedded and touchscreen-enabled devices, announced a partnership to collaborate on RespiraWorks’ open source ventilator. The medical-grade device, which can be assembled for under $500, is being designed for long-term vs. crisis use and for developing countries with the intent to source and manufacture locally.

RespiraWorks was formed in April by a volunteer collective of mechanical, process, electrical and controls engineers with knowledge in life support and critical engineering applications. Founder Ethan Chaleff, who currently works on designing ocean wave renewable energy, started out as an EMT and planned to go to medical school before deciding to tackle climate change through engineering. He has a PhD in nuclear engineering and has worked on nuclear safety systems, and is a former NASA and Department of Energy Fellow.

Ventilator Shortage Sparks Technology Partnership Between RespiraWorks and ICS


“While most teams are addressing the need for “bridge” type ventilators to keep someone alive for six to eight hours, we are not aware of any tackling the ventilators for longer-term needs in an open source, supply chain-optimized manner, and that’s where this team provides value,” said Chaleff. “Vital to the success of our ventilator is the design in terms of ease of use, intuitiveness and efficacy. The ICS team’s deep expertise in Human-Machine Interface and embedded touchscreen devices will be instrumental in that, and we are grateful for their generous support.”

Specializing in both user experience (UX) design and software engineering, ICS’ work spans modern user interfaces, connected products and touchscreen-enabled applications — everything from high-performance medical devices, smart agri-business equipment and air traffic control systems to connected restaurant equipment, next-gen video surveillance and in-vehicle infotainment systems for Tier 1 automakers. Medical device and life sciences companies such as Thermo Fisher, Boston Scientific and MilliporeSigma look to ICS to help create vital products, including defibrillators, radiation therapy systems, infusion pumps, and respiratory and intelligent ventilation devices.

ICS’ founder and CEO Peter Winston was intrigued with this project because while the immediate need for ventilators may pass, the need for lower-cost medical devices is enormous. The key to solving this problem lies in the fact that over time, open source software reduces costs and improves quality. By delivering quality software quickly, ICS will help this project demonstrate how safe, highly usable medical-grade software can be built in a fraction of the time.

“When RespiraWorks approached us, I was immediately impressed with the team and their unique mission to develop a ventilator that aims to solve the ‘second wave’ of the COVID-19 crisis,” Winston said. “Many companies are working on building ventilators for immediate crisis use. What we’re focused on is developing low-cost devices for the anticipated second wave, for patients who must remain on the devices for long periods of time.” He continued, “We feel privileged to be part of this very special project and didn’t hesitate to devote our own resources. A ventilator that can be built from inexpensive, readily available parts using open source software will be a game changer in countries with developing economies.”

RespiraWorks is interested in speaking with medical professionals, engineers and makers in developing countries who might need additional ventilators in the coming months, and collaborating with anyone who is working on similar projects. The 501(c)(3) pending organization welcomes donations to help continue its critical work.

About Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS)
At the intersection of custom software development, engineering and UX design, Integrated Computer Solutions (ICS) has been helping Fortune 1000 companies create transformational products for over 30 years. ICS has developed countless modern user interfaces, connected products and touchscreen-enabled applications for global companies like Boston Engineering, Boston Scientific, Boeing and Intel; everything from medical devices, agriculture and restaurant equipment to sophisticated video surveillance and in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. ​ICS' understanding of human-centric design and FDA manufacturing specifications helps medical device and life science organizations navigate regulatory compliance to meet the requirements of applicable standards, including ISO 62366 and IEC 62304. ICS is headquartered in Waltham, Mass., with offices in Sunnyvale, Calif. and Ottawa, Canada.

About RespiraWorks
RespiraWorks is an actively growing team of medical professionals, engineers, computer scientists and good samaritans applying their skills and resources to coordinate a response to the critical lack of ventilators that will acutely affect the developing world in the coming months. We are making sure our equipment meets standards set by the medical community by consulting with pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, critical care doctors, and emergency room doctors and nurses. 

Media Contact:
Heidi Boie