LA’s Mad Systems Working On Ventilator Designs To Help Ease US Shortages

April 3, 2020 by Dave Haynes

LA-based Mad Systems, an AV system designer and integrator with a serious mad scientists streak, is working on prototypes for breathing systems for people whacked hard by the coronavirus.

It is one of many stories of digital signage/DOOH ecosystem companies pitching in.

Reports InPark magazine:

Engineer Maris Ensing, VP of California-based Mad Systems Inc., usually puts his ingenuity to work for one-of-a-kind projects in museums and theme parks. In the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s instead gone into his workshop to create innovative solutions to the ventilator shortage that address the needs of patients and of healthcare workers.

Having sought and received advice from specialists in medical community, he is finalizing designs for several solutions that are considered viable and can be produced quickly, and now seeks to connect those results with the growing and urgent need around the US.

Positive pressure non-invasive ventilators for subcritical cases – Positive pressure ventilators assist a patient’s breathing without an invasive tube. Two versions are in development, one that adapts a CPAP machine and one that adapts a BiPAP machine.

According to Ensing, they protect both patient and caregiver by containing the exhaust so that it can be sterilized or disposed of safely, and maintain sufficient back pressure to keep the alveoli open and lungs inflated.

Says Ensing, “This is based on an Italian design concept, but improves upon that proven design as it doesn’t need 3D printed parts, and it separates incoming and return air so that trapped CO2 does not become an issue. The design was presented to a ventilator working group last weekend and was found to have merit, so work is progressing on getting the design refined and ready for production.”

Protective, re-usable, full-face filtered breathing masks for caregivers – This PPE item is designed to shield healthcare workers’ faces and connect to filter in a backpack to alleviate fatigue and reduce risk while taking care of infected patients.

Invasive (intubated) ventilator – Working with input from a pulmonologist at UC Irvine and a bridge ventilator working group of specialists, Ensing is creating parts and working on a prototype intubated ventilator using BiPAP machines that will be less sophisticated than the gold standard in terms of readouts and fine adjustments, but designed to perform reliably in the field.

Mechanical ventilator (based on Ambu bags) – Ensing is working to modify an Ambu bag to create a simple low-cost ventilator to be readily converted to a full breathing assist system. “We’re very concerned about the possible risks in the concept of producing invasive types of ventilators, but the need is very great,” says Ensing.

Mad Systems has identified local resources and manpower to commence production for several of these items, and also wants to hand the design concept to whoever wants to make these devices to save lives. The company welcomes inquiries from potential partners, suppliers of components and from governments and healthcare facilities needing such supplies. 

The company has also posted a primer on making face masks for non-hospital use:

This is a podcast with Ensing from 2019:


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