True to his word, Elon Musk has started putting his engineering team at Tesla to work on a prototype ventilator design to help aid the country’s healthcare system in light of coronavirus outbreak. And now, we finally have some first look on the progress that the team has made so far.
In a video put up on Tesla’s official Youtube channel, a team of company’s engineering department is seen demonstrating the progress that they have made on the ventilator design so far. What is evident throughout the video, is Tesla’s extensive use of its available car parts. The engineering team can be heard repeating several times, that they are using several of Tesla’s available stock to come up with this ventilator.
The video has come out after almost two weeks post Elon Musk’s confirmation, that he would re-open Tesla’s New York gigafactory to work on ventilators.
The video starts with one of the engineers demonstrating a pneumatic schematic of the prototype ventilator. The schematic mentions “V6.3”, perhaps meaning that the team has been working on several iterations of the ventilator and have decided to put up a video only when there is a working prototype. The schematic makes it pretty clear, the extensive usage of Tesla parts to make the ventilator. Here’s a screen grab:
Moving on, the video takes us to another engineer who is demonstrating how the actual prototype will work. The demo prototype is a basic functioning unit, that connects to a hospital’s oxygen supply and delivers fresh oxygen to the patient. Simultaneously, an exhaling unit will take up carbon dioxide emitted by a patient’s lungs, pass it through a valve that contains sensors and deliver it back to the hospital air system.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” said one of the engineers, “but we’re giving it our best effort.”
The US Government appealed to all automakers, including Tesla, to start producing ventilators as number of positive cases continue to rise at an alarmingly high rate in the US. According to the latest count recorded by John Hopkins, infections in the US stood at 337,637, almost 25% of the 1.2 million infections globally. Total deaths stood at 9,647 as the country continues to fall short of critical medical equipment and supplies. The US healthcare system has been on a strain ever since the outbreak went viral in the country and has found it difficult to grapple with the ever increasing cases.