GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers with the University of Florida are using everyday objects to create low-cost ventilators. The lifesaving medical equipment is in short supply as the country treats the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Samsun Lampotang and Dr. David Lizdas combined things like PVC pipes and lawn-sprinkler valves to create a functioning ventilator. The researchers said they wanted to be able to share instructions on building a ventilator online with items that were easy to come by. The current prototype gets the cost as low as $125 to $250 per unit.

In an interview with UF's assistant director of communications, Lampotang said he hopes his prototype can prevent doctors from making tough decisions.

“If we run out, you have to decide who gets one and who doesn’t. How do you decide that? The power of our approach is that every well-intentioned volunteer who has access to Home Depot, Ace or Lowe’s or their equivalent worldwide can build one,” Lampotang said.

Lampotang says University of Florida graduates around the world have the knowledge to implement the technology wherever it's needed. He also sees a future for the ventilators in developing countries.

The researchers plan to make their work open-source/ They're hoping to have instructions to make these ventilators available online in a few days.

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