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Bay Area engineers, doctors work to turn sleep apnea machines into ventilators

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A collaboration between UC Berkeley engineers and UCSF doctors is working to turn the machines used by people with sleep apnea into ventilators.

“This is what a sleep apnea machine looks like and there’s about 10 million in the United States and most people don’t like them and they put them in the closet,” Bryan Martel said.

With the need for ventilators at a critical point in places like New York City, Bryan Martel reached out to the dean of his alma mater at the College of Engineering at Berkeley with an idea to harness the power of these devices gathering dust in many people’s closets.

Together with doctors at UCSF, they’ve  determined just a few parts were needed to connect CPAP or BiPAP machines to oxygen masks or endotracheal tubing.  

Together they can be used to help lessen the strain this virus is putting on the current supply of ventilators.

“They provide pressurized air to your lungs when a patient goes into trouble, you need to use ventilators in this area when things are going bad, what we’re hoping is that you’ll be able to use these before it goes bad and at the end when they start coming out so will relieve the demand on ventilators,” Martel said.

They’ve tested the machines and have launched a website for people who want to donate their unused sleep apnea machines.

“With this interface to the community people from all over the country are donating their sleep apnea machines and we’re working with logistics companies to try to pick those up and then deliver them to the hospitals,” Martel said.

They don’t want people to donate their CPAP or BiPAP machines if they are in fact using them but if you have one of these devices going unused, they ask that you go to their website and register.

They will try to get it somewhere where it can do some good: CLICK HERE FOR REGISTRY.

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