The Open Source community united against Covid-19

By on March 20, 2020
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On March 11, WHO (World Health Organization) officially declared the COVID-19 or SARS-CoV2 virus, a global pandemic.
The situation is critical: more than 210,000 infected in 159 countries and nearly 10,000 deaths with very high contagion curves.


The risk of contagion is very high due to the volatility of the virus and the long resistance on the surfaces. In the rare movements allowed, the population uses safety devices such as the scarcely available FFP2, FFP3 masks and the national health systems are put to the test with the hospitals in the red areas now collapsing.

The virus caught everyone off guard and a race against time is now underway to ensure treatment and hospital beds. Funds are launched all over the world by private citizens who make their contribution to the purchase of materials and equipment for local hospitals.

However, solidarity is not manifesting itself only in the form of donations of money or basic necessities but also in terms of ideas and manpower: in recent days in a Lombard hospital the values ​​for artificial respirators had almost ended and due to a long time for the planned delivery, an engineer replicated the CAD design and donated 100 of them to the hospital free of charge.

In addition, the various communities at an international level are collaborating with each other and contributing to the creation of low-cost and completely open-source breathing and diagnostic devices so that they can spread an idea, improve it and share it. An example is undoubtedly the Facebook group “Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies” which has more than 15,000 members worldwide and which sees the continuous development of equipment by people living on opposite sides of the planet. There is only one method: each makes the knowledge available in a specific area that is merged with that of the other members in a climate of constructive collaboration.

There are also initiatives of those who develop ideas independently and publish them on various blogs dedicated to sharing ideas.

Let’s see some examples:

  • Coronavirus detector based on infrared temperature detection

In this project presented on, the construction of a mask equipped with an infrared (therefore remote) temperature sensor is indicated step by step, which allows to control the body temperature of each individual that is within the sensor’s range. The core of the project is the now widespread Arduino Uno and the various components are easy to find at a paltry price.

  • Open source artificial respirator

This project presents the prototype of an open-source artificial respirator that allows it to be easily replicated at an affordable price (compared to the several thousand euros of a respirator on the market).

  • Pulmonary ventilator with a mask

A project for a breathing mask has been published on  it consists of an Arduino Nano, a sensor to detect the flow of air and other electronic components inserted in a case specifically printed in 3D. Also, in this case, the cost of the components is very low and allows them to help people in difficulty. Obviously the quality is not the same as the respirators supplied to the various hospitals, but they are still able to help patients suffering from severe breathing difficulties.

Some collections have also been released which contain various links of projects and ideas with useful tips and tutorials.

And you? How are you experiencing the emergency from Covid-19? Comment below and present your ideas and opinions!



About Emanuele Signoretta

Studying electronics and communication engineering at Politecnico di Torino. Electronics, IT and Open Source enthusiast.

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