During the 1st wave COVID-19, my partner and I went into self-imposed isolation. It seemed probable that we would not receive proper care if either of us became infected so I discovered and updated a cuirass negative pressure ventilator, the Cuirass Ventilator.


Lack of local resources, patient age, co-morbidities or distance prevent a high number of respiratory patients from receiving any treatment at all. Fewer staff, overwhelmed with the variety of pulmonary diseases, are often unable to provide adequate respiratory care when patients reach a hospital setting, especially with the ongoing worldwide pandemic. Those hospitals admitting COVID-19 patients to undergo positive pressure ventilator therapy have had marginal success, and often the patients must relearn how to breathe after their initial therapy. Expensive PPVs expose patients to the dangers of intubation and sedation, require the constant attention of skilled staff with an extensive cleaning protocol.

What it does

Based on the proven efficacy of the iron lung, the Cuirass Ventilator is an inexpensive, simple solution to respiratory failure that does not require hospitalization but allows for medical support via remote monitoring. An inexpensive, simple solution the ventilator supports patient breathing anywhere. Telemedicine can add clinical support. Remote monitoring tech can enhance multiple communication protocols between the patient, ventilator and caregiver. The NEG VEN does not require intubation and sedation of a Positive Pressure Ventilator (PPV), nor does it need an extensive cleaning protocol. As patients never lose their ability to breathe by themselves, the Cuirass Ventilator minimizes disabling social isolation. The ventilator provides a treatment for patients with COPD, Cystic Fibrosis, pulmonary disease, and asthma, as well as COVID-19.

How I built it

The DIY goal of the Cuirass Ventilator enables a worldwide community of handy individuals to access their nearby resources of commonly accessible parts to build their own workable ventilator. For example, the initial prototype was built with components from grocery, hardware and automobile supply stores.

Development Stages:

DIY Inexpensive, appropriate for worldwide patients with few resources, the Cuirass Ventilator supports open source, open hardware development and provides instructions in a pdf document. Someone -- even the patient -- pushes the button on and off. Easily replicated, locally made.


  • The Cuirass Ventilator‘s cell phone interface provides plain language interaction, and its software can be updated.
  • The IP-addressable Cuirass Ventilator micro-controller with mobile device interface automatically monitors the patient and the controls of the vacuum motor.
  • Data from the NEG VEN patient interactions and disease outcomes can be provided to WHO and other health agencies.
  • Implementation of standardization and FDA approval of design and construction allows for further worldwide distribution. Business opportunity for major manufacturer / distributor with global resources & reach. Affiliations

Community Volunteer Support

The Cuirass Ventilator is a project in development with world community volunteer support provided by the 1 Million Ventilator Project put forth by Air to All via Help With Covid.


Access to qualified individuals to measure the efficacy of the cuirass ventilator approach was not available at the start of this project. Working in self-imposed isolation added challenges that were overcome by Internet communication channels.


I built the first prototype with the help of my network of friends and colleagues that made my progress possible. Thank you

What I learned

With passion and perseverance I prevail.

What's next for Cuirass Ventilator

  1. Finishing a USPTO Provisional Patent application to preserve the Intellectual Property.
  2. Iterations in design, the creation of supporting pages on Breathe Global with PDF downloads giving building directions and operation instructions.
  3. More iterations in design and added integration of enhanced patient and caregiver controls that include microcontrollers with IoT communication to clinics have just begun.
  4. Follow up on conversations with health providers, investors and medical university partner/sponsors.

Built With

  • diy
  • easy-instruction
  • easy-project
  • open-hardware
  • open-software
  • scaleable
  • seniors
  • therapy
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