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Monday, June 11, 2007

Does Open Source Hardware Development Work?

The Pandemic Ventilator Project was started on this blog on February 22, 2007. I initially had envisioned an open-source, public participation, Web 2.0 sort of project. I put out my design, asked for feedback, and hoped for others to join in the development. You can look here for my initial post.

I did not expect that I could start a blog, and immediately have people flock to my site. I knew I would have to promote the site somewhat and tell people what I was doing. I signed up on several flu pandemic discussion forums, and told people what I was doing. I also put a sitemeter tool on the blog so that I could do some traffic analysis to get some feedback on what worked. I went to the Google website and studied what was required to get a higher ranking on a Google search, and followed the recommendations.

So, you may ask, “How is it going?” Well, the results are mixed. I certainly got some constructive feedback from people I met on the various forums, and I had some people help me by placing additional posts. I had some people email me with suggestions. I have had very little negative reaction. Most of the negative reactions were from people who believe the project is a waste of time and resources, because the pandemic will be so severe that having additional ventilators will not help. I hope they are not right about that. I have had about 500 visitors so far. The visits come now from all over the world. Many are from government or educational ISPs.

As long as I promote the blog on other sites, I get visitors. As soon as I stop promoting, the traffic slows. There was only one large unexpected surge, when someone posted this blog on Reddit. If you think this blog should get more notice, then go to the Reddit site, log in and click on the up arrow.

So far, there have been no offers from others to join in the development. I am doing it all myself with my son helping. I have had quite a bit of help from people I know personally in the “non-wired” world. I have been loaned and given supplies and development tools to use on the project, and much encouragement. So far, I give Web 2.0 a 2 out of 5 for effectiveness, personal networking gets a 4 out of 5.

Here are some interesting links to other pandemic ventilator sites:

A do-it-yourself ventilator design from the 1940’s, originally in Popular mechanics magazine, more recently in Makezine.

A blog that was asking for someone to do a DIY ventilator last year already.

Project Extreme, an education program that gives out free DVDs to get more people cross trained in operating alternative ventilators during a pandemic.

A conference that will be dealing with the problem of ventilator shortage during a pandemic.

A report from the Center for Biosecurity about Ventilator Allocation.

And another article on ventilator requirements in a pandemic.

My letter to the British medical Journal


  1. Who is the target market for this blog? Medical workers and hardware hacking geeks.
    Maybe these two groups should be targetted as well as the more generic social bookmarking sites.

    Ok I am going to point out this blog to and Any ideas on medical related sites who could mention this?

  2. I think that is normal that your project take a time to became active. There are many problems to open hardware, advertising is just one of them. But, I'm shure you will find people to help the project.

  3. I am an engineer who is trying to get in touch with the author of this blog. I have emailed him on his Hotmail account but he has not responded.

    If anyone can contact him please encourage him read his Hotmail.

    Thanks you.

  4. Sorry about not checking my email. I will get back to you

  5. i will bookmarked it your blog so send me another updates thanks for the helpful detail.
    Heating and Cooling Toronto


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