Coronavirus vs Technology: Low cost respirators with Raspberry Pi Zero

Coronavirus vs Technology: Low cost respirators with Raspberry Pi Zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero card used to make low-cost respirators to be used for the care of patients during the crisis.

One of the problems that medical and healthcare personnel around the world is facing more frequently in this period of crisis is related to the availability of equipment for the care of patients, especially respirators. Technology and ingenuity can come in handy, as seen several times in recent weeks, for example using 3D printingartificial intelligence or sharing resources. We report today another initiative put in place with the same purpose and that leverages the Raspberry Pi Zero card.

Launched at the end of 2015 as a hardware board for development, it reached its last iteration last year, much more advanced in terms of datasheet. The original model, now sold for a handful of dollars, is the least performing in terms of computing power: 1 GHz single-core processor and 512 GB of RAM. However, the specifications are sufficient to manage the relatively simple operations that are required for the operation of a lung ventilator.

The team working on the project produced 192,000 of them (considering also the W variant with wireless modules) in the first three months of the year but intends to increase the pace up to 250,000 units in these three months. According to Eben Upton, CEO and co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, it is the first time that the card has been used in the medical field and for a device that can potentially save lives.