Innovate 2 Ventilate

An Open Innovation Effort to Design a Rapidly Deployable Mechanical Ventilator

Challenge Hosting Sponsors:

The Goals

Surviving the Peak

Most countries have yet to see the full devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to flatten the curve through social distancing, good hygiene, testing, and quarantine of infected individuals will curb the exponential rise in new cases, however we still expect to face severe shortages in hospital capacity.  The deficit of ventilators in the United States alone is expected to be in the hundreds of thousands.  Our goal is to rapidly expand the capacity of hospitals, by expanding our current ventilation abilities, in order to survive the peak of this pandemic.

The CoVent-19 Challenge is fostering the innovation of a rapidly deployable, minimum viable mechanical ventilator for patients with COVID-19 related ventilator-dependent lung injury.  Our goal is to close the gap between our actual resources and those in need around the world.

Flatten the curve graph

What is the Challenge?

The CoVent-19 Challenge is an open innovation 8-week Grand Challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers. We will be launching the Challenge on the GrabCAD Challenges platform on April 1, 2020. We welcome all who are interested to join a two round challenge that aims to create CAD assemblies by May 1, 2020 (Round 1: General Admission) and functional prototypes demonstrating acceptable performance by June 1, 2020 (Round 2: Invitation Only).

Participants will be allowed to submit multiple designs during Round 1, and participants may choose to submit full system designs and/or modules/parts for other teams to integrate into their design. Design briefs, system requirements, detailed team instructions and background information on mechanical ventilation will be provided when we launch on April 1, 2020. Round 2 will be invite-only and invited teams will receive access to additional resources for finalizing their design and creating functional prototypes.

  • Launch: April 1, 2020
  • Round 1 (Open Entry): April 1, 2020 – May 1, 2020
    (The deadline for joining Round 1 is the submission deadline on May 1, 2020)
  • Round 2 (Invite Only Round): May 5-27, 2020
    (Teams will be invited to Round 2 by May 4, 2020)
  • Winning Design Announced: June 1, 2020

How will the CoVent-19 Challenge work?

Who should participate?

Anyone can join our effort without restriction to field or focus and may enter as an individual or team. Please see our team building section below.

How do I join the CoVent-19 Challenge?

Anyone can submit designs on the GrabCAD Challenges website starting April 1, 2020 through May 1, 2020. Optionally, if you want to receive email notifications with updates, please subscribe to our email list below. If you are interested in forming or joining teams, you are invited to submit either the Team Building or Member Search form. Each team will need one team leader that will register on GrabCAD Challenges after we launch on April 1, 2020.

How do I find teammates?

If you are looking for a team or are looking for members follow the instructions below:

How will the ventilator reach the people in need?

The CoVent-19 Challenge offers participants an unbeatable platform of resources to streamline the winning design through prototyping, safety and regulatory testing, manufacturing and distribution. Our partners have experience in manufacturing medical devices and navigating world-wide crises.

World-class leaders in respiratory physiology, critical care, and ventilator technology will form our expert medical and technical panels.  They will provide guidance to teams on the safety, clinical, and technical requirements.  Stratasys, the world leader in 3D manufacturing and prototyping, will co-host the design process and prototyping of designs.   Ximedica, with more than 30 years of expertise in medical device design and manufacturing, will align with regulatory agencies to take the winning device through the necessary safety and regulatory testing, thus ensuring compliance with national and international standards.  We are currently in discussions with manufacturers, distributors and the public sector to deliver the final winning ventilator around the world.

How will the CoVent-19 Challenge team support participants through the process?

Stratasys, GrabCAD and Valispace, are providing our participants free software for this challenge.

  • GrabCAD Workbench and GrabCAD Print offer cloud-based tools to collaborate on draft CAD designs that can be seamlessly 3D printed through our sponsor, Stratasys. During Round 2, invited teams will be supported with free rapid prototyping assistance.
  • Participants are also encouraged to work at a physical distance over Valispace. This software offers teams a platform to collaborate on requirements-driven hardware designs remotely, organize, and grow their projects throughout the creative process.

Participants will have access to GrabCAD Forums where they can send questions to our clinical and technical expert panels, including expert physicians on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic and ventilatilator industry experts.

Why join us?

What sparked our initiative?

The first cases of COVID-19 in the United States hit close to home.  We saw issues other countries were struggling with, including the inability to provide invasive mechanical ventilation to all those in need.  As anesthesia doctors, we are experts at using ventilators to care for critically ill patients, and thus felt an immediate calling.

Why is mechanical ventilation so vital to surviving COVID-19?

COVID-19 can cause severe pneumonia (or lung infection).  When the infection is severe, the effort of breathing increases, making it difficult to supply oxygen to vital organs.  Patients may require extra breathing support from a mechanical ventilator, a machine that takes over the effort of breathing so that the lungs have time to heal.

How is your strategy different from large companies ramping up production of mechanical ventilators?

Although ramping up production will help address the deficit in mechanical ventilators around the world, the speed and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic require urgent solutions that be deployed globally, including in low-resource areas where standard mechanical ventilators may be challenging to obtain.  We aim to augment our existing resources in a rapid and fluid way that enables us to expand and contract our resources to match the clinical needs around the world.

How will increasing our current mechanical ventilation capacity impact the COVID-19 pandemic?

Each country has its own projected pandemic peak.  The CDC is predicting a peak in late April to May in the United States.  According to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the United States has the capacity to ventilate about 170,000 patients at one time, while 960,000 patients are projected to require mechanical ventilators.  Even with the addition of a hundred thousand mechanical ventilators, we may not have the capacity to ventilate all those in need, forcing physicians to make the difficult decision–who receives mechanical ventilation to continue to fight COVID-19 and who will not.

How can I get involved if I would like to be a partner or a sponsor?

Please email us at

Team Members

  • Richard Boyer, MD, PhD

    Founder & Director

  • Diana Barragan-Bradford, MD

    Development & Recruiting

  • Emily Blatter Boyer, EdM


  • Sarah Low, MD

    Public Relations

  • Lauren Schergen, MD

    Marketing & Social Media

  • Lauren Gibson, MD

    Technical Expert Panel Lead

  • Elisa Walsh, MD

    Medical Expert Panel Lead

  • David Hao, MD


  • Erica Gee, MD

    Program Team

  • Paul Guillod, MD

    Program Team

  • Rupeng Li, MD, PhD

    Program Team

  • Adriana Posada, MD

    Program Team

  • Christina Shin, MD

    Program Team

  • Luca Zazzeron, MD

    Program Team

Meet the Team