Wearable device maker Fitbit created a high-quality, low-cost ventilator to help address urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitbit says the fan, called Fitbit Flow, was inspired by the MIT E-Vent Design Toolbox It is designed by the company's engineers with the collaboration of doctors from Oregon Health and Science Hospital and the MassGeneralBrigham Center for COVID Innovation.
According to the American Tortician Society, a ventilator (also known as a mechanical ventilator, respirator or breathing machine), life support equipment that helps people to breathe when they cannot breathe on their own. The machine puts oxygen in the lungs and body and helps to get rid of carbon dioxide.
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Information that the company was developing ventilators to help patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new Coronavirus, was released in May. At the time it was also said that she had already contacted the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize its use.
Now the company has announced that Fitbit Flow has received emergency use authorization from the FDA, which means that the product could be put into use very soon. Fitbit will work with organizations in the USA and in several other countries to help meet the need for emergency ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic. By taking advantage of its manufacturing capabilities, the company hopes to produce "large volumes" of its Flow ventilator and supply them to healthcare systems worldwide.
"COVID-19 challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more quickly develop products that support patients and the health systems that care for them. We saw an opportunity to bring together our development expertise advanced sensors, manufacturing and our global supply chain to meet the critical and ongoing need for emergency ventilators and help make a difference in the fight against this global virus. "– James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit
Fitbit Flow is made of laser-cut aluminum and can be used on a table or with a modular support that can be adapted to accommodate different sizes of oxygen tanks. It is also much simpler to operate compared to a commercial fan and offers a clear viewing window that allows doctors to observe automated pumping from a distance. The company's fan is apparently cheaper than other similar emergency fans.