Design Engineering

Ventilator design challenges tap engineers for crowd-sourced solutions

By DE Staff   

Additive Manufacturing General Medical

Montreal hospital, Mass General tasking global innovators to submit design specs for life-saving devices.

The Montreal General Hospital Foundation has teamed up with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), in the launch of the CAD$200,000 Code Life Ventilator Challenge that’s calling for a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and maintain ventilator design.

According to the foundation, approximately 10 percent of those infected by COVID-19 require mechanical ventilation to stay alive but a worldwide shortage of the machines has forced hospitals in peak outbreak regions, like Italy, to make hard decisions. With infection rates continuing to escalate globally, the focus, the foundation says, is to produce as many of the life-saving devices as quickly as possible.

The design specifications that teams need to meet and the contest’s submission guidelines have been posted to the Code Life Ventilator Challenge page on

The hope is that rapid manufacturing—3D printers, CNC machines—combined with low-cost computers (i.e., smartphone, Arduino, raspberry pi, etc), offer the possibility of a simple, broadly available ventilator with sufficient performance to get through the COVID-19 crisis.


Eligible teams will have until March 31 to submit designs, which will be judged by a committee of expert advisers. Final submissions will be tested in the Clinical Innovation Platform at the Montreal General Hospital and the three top contenders will be announced by April 15. The winning design will then be made available for download and production, anywhere in the world.

CoVent-19 Challenge
In the U.S., anesthesiologists at Mass General Hospital have teamed up with 3D printer company Stratasys and GrabCAD to launch The CoVent-19 Challenge, an open innovation 8-week challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers to produce a rapidly deployable ventilator design by June 2020.

As yet, the challenge’s organizers haven’t posted design specifications for the two devices requested or deadlines for submission.

According to the hospital, the U.S.’s pandemic peak is projected to hit by mid-June. By then, the hospital estimates 960,000 patients may require mechanical ventilators, yet the U.S. has the capacity to ventilate approximately 170,000 patients, at present.


Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories