Fresh’s COVID-19 response includes open-source emergency ventilator design, free access to innovation platform Invent Value, and coordination of local PPE suppliers via the Oregon Protective Manufacturing Collective.
We’re in unprecedented times, and dealing with broad changes to business as usual.
But while we navigate distance and disruption, Fresh is using its strengths in design, engineering, and innovation to support our communities, local and global.
Our efforts take three approaches:
- Prototyping an emergency medical device
- Opening our innovation platform
- Bringing other firms together to re-tool and build personal protective equipment manufacturing capability
Open-sourcing Emergency Ventilator Manufacture
Worldwide Ventilator is a low-cost, open-source field emergency ventilator for the world during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s got a simple design and is intended to be used as an assisted breathing device.
Pressure builds on both sides of the bistable fluidic amplifier to determine when to switch. When a patient’s lungs fill, the device’s internal flow path switches to the other side, triggering the exhalation phase and venting gases through the exhaust port.
When exhalation is complete, the device flow path switches to the other side and triggers the inhalation phase. Positive pressure is maintained throughout all phases of flow. The three set-screws on the device enable adjustments in the inhale pressure, the exhale pressure, and the duration of the exhale volume.
Fresh’s Chief Science Officer Emeritus Jeff Alexander has led the effort, ramping up quickly, after the first prototype was brought into play in late March. Hospitals, doctors, and partners around the world are interested in helping. When we put out the call for help with computational fluid dynamics, a critical factor in ventilator engineering, two-dozen researchers (students and professionals), six universities, three computing centers, and one company, all connected to Stanford, offered to help.
We’re hoping Worldwide Ventilator will become a community or broader inter-institutional effort, and we realize this is something that requires the right partners and doctors to validate whether we have something as safe and promising as we think it can be. Once we achieve additional validation, we’re hoping to establish a non-profit umbrella to support inter-institutional collaboration, building progressive outreach as the product solidifies and we’re further able to expand our initial prototyping efforts into a medically-sound field unit. You can follow the Worldwide Ventilator progress reports here.
Innovation Access for Academics and Non-Profits
Meanwhile, physical distancing and our new work-from-home arrangements don’t have to mean the end of collaboration. To that end, Fresh is freeing up its internal innovation platform Invent Value for educational and non-profit institutions so they can “workshop from home” and have strategic discussions and idea generation sessions, asynchronously. Invent Value is the platform Fresh built to automate everyday innovation, and in our time of uncertainty, it becomes even more critical to building and keeping alignment
Manufacturing PPE, At Home and At Scale
In Portland we’ve been advising on the coordination of local PPE suppliers and importers via the Oregon Protective Manufacturing Collective, spinning up idle machinery and clean rooms to help the state build a sustainable source of protective equipment for medical workers and first responders. Our hardware team has worked on a new design for more comfortable medical face shields that we are publishing as open source. 3D printers are being utilized when not busy to support fabricating those for local hospitals.
Quick-Shifts for Restaurants
Lastly, our software team is advising some restaurants on tuning their websites to service take-out and delivery customers, offering consultation on reshaping a current site into something that’s able to focus the user experience on a new dining paradigm. Even if it’s a quick setup, there’s helpful technical advice to give on establishing something functional, quickly.
Committed to Innovation
Across the board, we’re continuing to build Fresh experiences people love, and checking in with our partners and peers to keep doing innovative work that supports our clients’ amazing products, missions, and businesses that all, in turn, support our community.
We hope you’ll get in touch if you want to help contribute to any of these efforts, or we can assist yours.