Air Collective Forum

April 12th - hospital relationsips, and device certification support

As the pandemic progresses, we are all still up against a huge challenge to make enough breathing support devices for every patient in need of one. While corporations are announcing their intentions, they also have a long way to go to deliver on their promises – they are moving slowly and it is not clear they will succeed. In any case, all their promises together still don’t meet even half the demand. The local-sourced options we provide are still the fastest to make and most scalable option. We need to continue.

These are some of potential paths I see opening up for us:

Progress:

  • The Bulgarian PPE team are coming together, and has made some amazing progress. They’ve got official engagement with hospitals (a first for such complex devices) and unofficial progress at operational levels, building real understanding and strong relatioships with end-users. They’re anticipating scaling and operational issues, and we’re teaming up to work on fundraising. I think we have reasonable potential to get a mask to every hospital worker in the country. This will require a fund-raise of 30,000+ EUR, which is in the works and expected to launch next week.

  • The chatbot team has been growing, and we’re about to fix some coordination issues that will help us release the system. The idea is to create a one-stop search for engineers who want to take one of the more progressed designs, and make them locally viable options. So emphasizing things like component availability and alternatives, manufacturing, and certification. It will be a unified search for our forum, and a the numerous Slack channels used for different ventilator projects, plus some quick answers to find relevant breathing device projects.

  • A name change is under way. We have changed a lot since our quick launch, and want to be clear this is a collaborative effort, and not just about ventilators. We’re also seeing that the DIY in the name isn’t always seen in a positive light. So we’re changing to “Air Collective.”

Possible directions:

  • If we’re able to protect a large number of Bulgarian hospitals, this will build a lot of good will and open relationships with the national healthcare institutions. We would like to progress with this by collaborating on a fast-track for breathing devices to be certified. We have experience building innovation programs, and could structure this so engineers could engage with this similar to a startup accelerator, lowering the time to certification. Doing something like this in Bulgaria opens two paths - to include other European countries for their certification needs, and to allow devices to be used internationally, knowing they are already certified in a European country.

  • If the search service/chatbot proves to be valuable and gets some traction, it will be so for engineers and breathing device projects around the world. We would then do a full startup-style launch, creating a “place for answers for serious breathing device projects”, using the search to understand the pressing needs engineers face. This will enable building fast guides, and building up the forum to be a place with more thorough answers than on chatrooms. Basically, we can package the most needed knowledge in ways that save engineers time, and get more engineers working effectively.

  • It is time for us to focus on funding. After launching the Bulgarian crowdfund, we’ll turn our attention to longer-term funding bids, and will be happy to talk to anyone about being included in our bids. If we can relieve you of the funding application headache, we’d be happy to be of service, so please get in touch.

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