Could you please introduce yourself?

We are three Bachelor students at École Polytechnique: Paloma, Ambroise and Eliott, with very different backgrounds:

  • Paloma comes from Florence, Italy, and is passionate about theoretical sciences. She initially joined the Resp.Pi project to work on lines of code but was also excited to discover the “makers” and Fablabs world.

  • Ambroise had an English-speaking scientific background in South Africa before joining the Bachelor Program. He worked on the development of the interface, as well as the theoretical aspect of the project.

  • Eliott is a “maker” at heart. He started the Respi.Pi project with his father and some friends from Nancy. As he was accustomed to Fablabs and robotics, he already knew how to use prototyping machines and CAO software.

Let’s talk about your project. How was it born?

Resp.Pi is a “low-cost” respirator which aims to be easily manufacturable and understood by a large majority of people. A hand-made bellow replaces turbines which are usually used for this kind of machine, and only the mechanics and electronics of an 3D printer are required to produce it. Every component can easily be found on the market and are known by the “makers”. Moreover, its operation is quite easy and the physical measurements such as the pressure can be visualized and included in its numerical interface.

The aim of this project is not to replace the professional respirators but to offer an alternative that could be produced alongside the factories.

The product is user-friendly and doesn’t require a long-term training. It’s made for countries in need of equipment and medical staff.

Who have you worked with to develop the respirator?

This project arose from the willingness of the Sarrey family to continue to remain active during the lockdown period. Initially, the father and son started to think about this project. Then, a medical test was made possible thanks to the surgery school of Nancy and a family friend, Louis Blot, who supported us for its conception. The first prototype arrived at l’X and benefited from the solidarity of the students. That is how Clémence de Rolland came to help us with a sewing kit and Urban Vernik to organise a semi-professional photo shooting for our prototype!

At the end of the lockdown, Serge Chanchole enabled us to go to the FabLab at l’X in order to create the pieces of the second version of the Resp.pi.

Is there any link between you being part of the Bachelor Program and the project? Have you been able to apply any skills that you have learnt in the Program?

The Bachelor Program is intense and therefore, we’ve been accustomed to understanding many new concepts in a short period of time. It’s helped us to learn in only a few days how to install a server and web interface… We have also learned a lot thanks to extra curriculum projects.

We have learnt a lot with this project- about teamwork, contact management, practical knowledge and about working fast and efficiently.

What are the next steps?

A first respirator has been tested positively at the Hôpital de Chirurgie of Nancy on a pig. The plans of a second prototype, functional and tight, as well as the codes of its interface have been available on Instructables since June 22nd.

Other modifications will be added to facilitate the back pressure. Our goal is to make the project known and to receive the help and support of professionals from the robotics and heath sectors so that we can better adapt the model to meet their requirements. The idea is to enable countries to produce this low-cost respirator while they are wait for industrial respirators to arrive.

The next steps for us are to find help and support for the development of the project and to further improve some elements of the Resp.Pi. Ultimately, we’d like the respirators to be produced in the Fablabs.