In Brest, we test the respirator was designed by geeks - The Point

through the door of the office of Erwan L'her, is to enter into the lair of a Géotrouvetou in a white coat. In the office of the chief of the intensive care un

In Brest, we test the respirator was designed by geeks - The Point

through the door of the office of Erwan L'her, is to enter into the lair of a Géotrouvetou in a white coat. In the office of the chief of the intensive care unit at the CHRU of Brest, we cross medical equipment parts printed in 3D, head of a mannequin, or even a mechanical lung simulator of patient, machine more austere than is suggested by its function, as it is a cube of grey metal that hums when you plug it in. The doctor breton is currently working on the development of the registration dossier, the MakAir, this respirator a low-cost designed at any speed by a collective of geeks in nantes, france with the help of academics and doctors. One of the first prototypes of MakAir is there on the earth, ready to bring relief to the patient simulator.

This respirator participatory, that looks like a large desktop computer, is a device rustic, robust, cheap and without frills. "There's the minimum, but there are all the minimum necessary ", explains Erwan L'her, who praises the qualities of this device designed in a record time of four weeks between the idea and the filing of registration dossier, a feat. This time, the public authorities clearly have played the game : the national security Agency of the drug (MSNA) has put in place a certification procedure lightning, the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes funded the manufacturing of the prototypes and the atomic energy commission has given a helping hand by inviting the designers of the project on their site. It seems that the current is immediately passed between the startupeurs who came with their system of care and research engineers, who are accustomed to an environment that is more formal.

Assessments excellent

The hospital sector had to fight his own skepticism. If Erwan L'her, a specialist in fans medical in France, did not hesitate to offer his help, he knows that some doctors are dubious of the idea that a bunch of geeks completely out of the medical community is capable of designing a respirator is operational in four weeks and publish its plans without seeking to make any kind of euro... "Many of my colleagues did not believe it, but the result is there, and the first prototypes are working," says the doctor in charge of the first tests. "The assessments are excellent, the machine behaves perfectly with the patient simulator. "

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€ 1,000

prepare for the worst, hope for the best. The wave of hospitalizations in the intensive care unit has not exceeded the number of respirators available, MakAir will therefore not be heavily in the service in the next few days. But the project continues. Fifty of the machines manufactured in the clean room and placed by the test bench are waiting for the green light from the MSNA to be connected on voluntary patients. Ultimately, any hospital in the world will be able to produce the machine MakAir, using 3D printers and electronic components, currents. For a small charge : approximately 1, 000 euros. In a market where the machines can cost up to 45 000 euros, that's more than reasonable : "This does not mean that the industrial market are hired. This means that the machine offers less adjustment possibilities. It is perfect for situations of massive emergency such as an epidemic, but it can not, for the moment, not to be used on a daily basis in a service recovery ", warns the resuscitator, which guard against triumphalism : "The tests on patients are an important time. Even if things are looking good, the risk is never zero. "If everything goes as expected, the tests on real patient could begin in a few days.

Read also : In a sub-soil of Nantes, engineers give birth to a respirator at lower cost


It is the nature of the crises : they upset the habits and make possible what was not the day before. Thus, innovation "frugal" requires to make, to tinker, to invent, to divert, to make your own. "There will be a before and an after Covid ", explains Erwan L'her. In his office, we find these recent inventions that have changed the lives of caregivers during the crisis : the famous snorkel mask Decathlon and many different models of valves to oxygenate a patient in respiratory distress or protect a caregiver, visors transparent printed in 3D and manufactured by the factory Bic Redon, or even surblouses made disaster by Chrystal Plastic, a company in the north of France normally specialized in packaging. While manufacturers diverted their production lines, the researchers are diverting objects of everyday life : "We recently developed a device capable of measuring the lung volume of a patient using a module for the Xbox !" explains the chief of department of resuscitation, which is also a member of a research team of Inserm. In the absence of oil, it was always full of ideas.

Date Of Update: 21 May 2020, 16:34