Tesla shows prototype ventilator for COVID-19 patients made from electric car parts


The coronavirus crisis has led Elon Musk to enter the medical device industry, with SpaceX manufacturing components for Medtronic

ventilators, corporate donations of BiPAP respirators that can be modified to be used as non-invasive ventilators and promising to use a Tesla

factory to produce fans. Now, Tesla engineers have designed a prototype fan that uses parts suitable for electric vehicles.

The automaker released a video on Sunday featuring a group of engineers, all wearing surgical masks and gloves, showing their creation built with internal auto parts, rather than compressors, pumps and other components highly specialized medical device manufacturers desperately need to accelerate. fan production.

“We want to use parts we know very well, we know the reliability of, and we can go very fast and they are available in volume,” said Joseph Mardall, Tesla’s engineering repertoire. “We used a lot. “

The device shown in the video includes a touch screen display panel, the same as that used in electric sedans model 3, which monitors the oxygen supply and the release of carbon dioxide, a computer system of infotainment model 3, a lithium-ion battery, as well as pumps, compressors, tubes and an oxygen mixing chamber. Since this is only a prototype, it is not clear when or if Tesla will be able to produce the devices in large volumes – assuming they are tested and approved for use in COVID-19 patients by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

The video appeared a day after device maker Medtronic – which is in talks with Tesla on how companies could work together to increase the supply of devices that allow COVID-19 patients to breathe when sickness strikes them. deprives them of the ability to do it themselves – Said in a tweet that Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, was making a “component critical care # fans – more events earlier for # COVID19 the patients. “

Musk said via Twitter April 3 that SpaceX is doing “Proportional solenoid valves for Medtronic. “

Musk movements come like General Motors

and Ford are also partnering with medical device manufacturers to help them speed up production, although none of these automakers have touted their own designs. Instead, GM and Ford, like SpaceX, plan to manufacture components in auto parts factories, including companies such as Medtronic, Ventec, GE Healthcare and ResMed

to say is the most critical.

“It’s not a problem with making final ventilation. It’s a parts problem, “said fan maker Mick Farrell in a April 1 interview on CNBC. “When we receive real offers from car manufacturers, aerospace companies and defense companies, and we have received hundreds of offers, we say fantastic! Do not make a fan or buy these parts. Make these 10 pieces for us and let us evolve, which we can, between us and our competitors, to meet the requirements of COVID-19.

The FDA accelerated the approval process for coronavirus treatments on March 31 to help the health crisis. However, ventilators designed for patients with the most severe respiratory problems are extremely complex and certification will take time, says Gail Baura, professor of engineering at Loyola University in Chicago, medical device technology and author. of a manual on the subject that is widely used. used in medical schools.

“There are all of these engineering standards that are used to design these medical devices, and the FDA seeks to ensure that you have tested and proven compliance with these standards before it can obtain FDA clearance and sell legally these devices, “she says Forbes. It will take a long time to validate the fans from these new manufacturing partnerships, “even with the emergency use clearance issued by the FDA.”


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