Italian engineers' brilliant 3-D printed hack turns scuba gear into ventilator masks
via Reddit

One of the biggest issues in treating those affected by COVID-19 is a lack of medical equipment. Italy, the country second hardest-hit by the pandemic, has faced shortages in equipment and hospital beds.

This puts doctors in the terrible position of having to decide who gets treatment and who does not.

One of the most important tools in the fight against COVID-19 are ventilators.


"A ventilator is a fairly fancy piece of technological equipment which is designed to breathe for somebody who is unable to breathe effectively on their own," David Hill, a pulmonologist who sits on the board of the American Lung Association, said according to PBS.

In severe cases of COVID-19, a patient's lungs become inflamed and filled with fluid which makes it difficult for them to breathe and oxygenate their blood.

A ventilator could mean the difference between life and death.

Due to the shortage of ventilator masks in northern Italy, a doctor reached out to Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli, engineers at Isinnova, a 3-D printing company, with the idea of making masks out of scuba equipment.

In just three hours, the engineers created a prototype for a 3-D printed valve that successfully converts the scuba gear into a ventilator mask.

"We had never made valves before, but we wanted to help," they said according to The Independent.

The engineers then reached out to French sporting goods retailer Decathlon to see if they could use the Subea Easybreath snorkeling mask for the project. The company was "immediately willing to cooperate."

The first fully-working prototype was tested at the Chiari Hospital and proven to be effective. After the successful test, the engineers printed 100 more valves.

The engineers quickly patented the valve, but then made the 3-D printing files free so anyone with a printer can produce them during the crisis. "We clarify that our initiative is totally non-profit, we will not obtain any royalties on the idea of the link, nor on the sales of Decathlon masks," the engineers said.

The valves cost about a dollar to make according to The Independent.

via Cristian Fracassi / YouTube

While the engineers are proud of their success in creating the ventilator masks, they stress they are just a stop-gap solution.

"We are reiterating that the idea is designed for healthcare facilities and wants to help in realization of an emergency mask in the case of a full-blown difficult situation, where is not possible to in find official healthcare supplies," the engineers said.

Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need," they continued. "Usage by the patient is subjected to the acceptance of use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration."

The engineers at Isinnova are a fantastic example of the powerful ways that out-of-the-box thinking combined with partnerships between healthcare and outside industries can help us get through the pandemic.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less