The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we interact with people, things, and the world around us. A few months ago, we launched the Touch Less, Do More Challenge, calling on our community to build solutions based on Arduino Nano or MKR boards to enforce social distancing or enable touch-free technologies.
More than 1,000 participants submitted solutions to the contest in hopes of winning tens of thousands of dollars in prizes, including hardware from Newark, Dragon Innovation product assessment, and Hackster marketing support.
The judging panel — composed by Massimo Banzi (Arduino Co-Founder), Nishant Nishant (Avnet VP & Global Head of Digital), Benedetta Piantella (Design Researcher and Professor at NYU), Alessandro Ranellucci (Arduino Chief of Open Source Community) and Alex Glow (IoT Media at Hackster) — selected the best projects. Without further ado, here are your winners…
Buttons can be found everywhere from light switches and pedestrian crossings to elevators and kiosks. These buttons, however, can also be a catalyst in the spread of viruses. This led Swapnil Verma to come up with a gesture and IoT-based touchless interface that provides a simple, intuitive, and most of all, germ-free way of interacting with the digital world.
Jean Perardel‘s Grumpy Hedgehog is a MKR WiFi 1010-controlled gadget that, thanks to an LCD screen, allows users to read and communicate through hand signs and movements. With GrumpyHedgehog, anyone can operate a send keyboard commands to a computer, track the number of patrons in a store on a smartphone, relay encrypted information to a server, turn on the lights, and much more.
15-year-old Dhruv Sheth has impressively designed an intelligent system comprised of six solutions that automate commonly used devices throughout homes and in public to prevent COVID-19 transmission. These solutions — which are built upon the MKR WiFi 1010 and Nano 33 BLE Sense — include a smart intercom, a temperature monitor, a voice-controlled elevator, a mask detector, a queue management system, and a sanitization system.
draakje156‘s Nano-powered robot easily sits on a desk, cash register, or elsewhere to measure the distance between itself and any approaching person, emitting a light and sound alarm if someone comes within six feet.
Ever wish you could know how crowded a shop was before entering? With this in mind, Ian Mercer created low-cost storefront indicator to help at-risk individuals decide whether it’s a good time to go in or best to wait until later by tracking cell phone BLE traffic via a MKR WiFi 1010.
This article was written by César Garcia, researcher at La Hora Maker.
This week, we will be exploring the Apollo Ventilator in detail! This project emerged at Makespace Madrid two months ago. It was a response to the first news about the expected lack of ventilators in Spain because of COVID-19.
Several members of the space decided to explore this problem. They joined Telegram groups and started participating in the coronavirus maker forum. In this group, they stumbled upon an initial design shared by a doctor, that would serve as a starting point for the ventilator project.
To advance the project, a small but active group would join daily at “Makespace Virtual.” This virtual space used open-source video conferencing software Jitsi. Each one of the eight core members would contribute with their expertise in design, engineering, coding, etc. Due to the confinement measures in place, access to the space was quite limited. Everyone decided to work from home and a single person would merge all advances at the make space physically. A few weeks later doctors from La Paz Hospital in Madrid got in touch with the Apollo team, looking for ways to work together on the ventilator.
One of the hardest challenges to overcome was the lack of medical materials. The global demand has disrupted supply chains everywhere! The team had to improvise with the means at their disposal. To regulate the flow of gases, they created a 3D-printed pinch, that would collapse a medical-grade silicone tube in the input. This mechanism is controlled using the same electronics used in 3D printers: an Arduino Mega 2560 board with a RAMPS shield!
In respect of sensors, they decided to go for certified versions that could be sterilized in an autoclave. They looked everywhere without success. A few days later, they got support from a large electronics supplier to provide them an equivalent model suited for children or adults up to 80 kg.
They decided to work on a shared repository to coordinate all the distributed efforts. This attracted new members and talents, doubling in size and sparking new lines of development. The Apollo Ventilator is an open-source project, meaning that new people can learn and create together new features.
Based on their expertise sourcing components, they wanted Apollo to be flexible. Most other certified ventilators are too specific. But they want to become “the Marlin for ventilators!” Marlin is one of the most used firmware in the world to control 3D printers. This software can manage all kinds of boards and adapt to different configurations easily.
In the case of the Apollo Ventilator, the initial setup runs on a single Arduino Mega board. It uses the attached computer as the display. Current code can be configured to use a secondary Arduino board connected by serial port as a display too. As for the interface, there are several alternatives using GTK and QT. It’s also possible to send this data using MQTT, so data from many ventilators can be centralized. Other alternative builds used even regular snorkeling pieces! The Apollo Ventilator aspires to serve as the basis for several new projects and initiatives where off the shelf solutions are not available. Another potential outcome would be low-cost ventilators for veterinary practice or education.
The Apollo Ventilator is currently under development. They plan to expand the tests on lung simulators right now. Next steps would involve working with hospitals and veterinary schools. They will tackle these phases once the medical services are less overwhelmed.
The Apollo Ventilator takes its name from the famous Apollo missions to the moon. They managed to overcome all obstacles to take us where humanity had not been before. This project shares the same goals in regards to open-source ventilators. They are trying to overcome one of the biggest contemporary challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about the Apollo Ventilator, you can check out its repository. At this link you can also find an interview (in Spanish) to Javi, Apollo Ventilator’s project leader.
If you’d like to know more about Makespace Madrid, visit their website.
Arduino staff and Arduino community are strongly committed to support projects aimed at fighting and lessening the impact of COVID-19. Arduino products are essential for both R&D and manufacturing purposes related to the global response to Covid-19, in building digital medical devices and manufacturing processes for medical equipment and PPE. However, all prototypes and projects aimed to fight COVID-19 using Arduino open-source electronics and digital fabrication do not create any liability to Arduino (company, community and Arduino staff members). Neither Arduino nor Arduino board, staff members and community will be responsible in any form and to any extent for losses or damages of whatever nature (direct, indirect, consequential, or other) which may arise related to Arduino prototypes, Arduino electronic equipment for critical medical devices, research operations, forum and blog discussions and in general Covid-19 Arduino-based pilot and non pilot projects, independently of the Arduino control on progress or involvement in the research, development, manufacturing and in general implementation phases.
Combating COVID-19 Conference: A Collaborative Arduino Community Initiative to take place on April 2nd at 5pm CET
To the Arduino community:
Humanity is facing one of the most trying events in its history and as technologists, makers and designers we are asking ourselves how can we help.
How can we contribute to the efforts to save lives, to help our fellow human beings?
All of us have been thinking about this and observing what is going on in the world.
We have seen communities, including all of you, trying to design devices that would help hospitals cope with the lack of equipment; we’ve seen people firing up their imagination and their 3D printers in an effort to build something that could save even a single human life.
Having noticed that a large number of these efforts are using Arduino technology we reached out to a number of these communities to offer our help, donate some hardware, provide engineering support, and do whatever we can considering that we are a small company.
One thing that was striking to us is the large amount of duplication in the work people are doing. Many people are spending valuable time trying to overcome similar challenges in their design, rather than sharing their solution to the benefit of all and moving on to the next hurdle. Also, there are different teams with different strengths and skill sets that would be better working together than apart.
We must do better, be more effective, work together, and merge efforts to solve these problems and reach our common goal quicker and more efficiently.
Because of all of this, we want to invite as many of these projects as possible to an online gathering, to get people talking, to offer help on how to design and make hardware, how to think about the software, and how to scale manufacturing (we would like to share our knowledge in making tens of thousands of open source boards per week). Finally and most importantly, we must take guidance from medical professionals so that they can steer requirements and validate the designs so our efforts have the most positive impact.
Join us online on April 2nd to understand how we can work together to do better together, and together — let’s make COVID-19 history.
— David Cuartielles and Massimo Banzi, Arduino co-founders (on behalf of Arduino)
Combating COVID-19 Conference: A Collaborative Arduino Community Initiative will take place on April 2nd at 5pm CET.
This is an open invitation to anyone currently using Arduino-compatible devices within a project to design and manufacture ventilators, respirators or other devices to combat COVID-19. Be you a doctor, an academic, a professional company/researcher or an innovator, you are more than welcome to join the conference.
The conference will be hosted in Zoom (link available soon), with the ability to interact with Arduino and other members on the conference via Discord (free download here).
There are different ways to participate in the conference: you can present your Arduino-based solution to tackle COVID-19, support other community projects, or provide expert advice — we are all stronger together.
(N.B. If you want to present and share your project, please complete this form by 12:00 (noon) CET on April 2nd.)
More information on the conference will be available soon. In the meantime, you can learn more about Arduino’s overall response to COVID-19 emergency here.