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Robotics Company Lends a Hand (or 500) With Its COVID-19 Ventilator Project

“Only use your time for its highest and best use.” This sage advice from a mentor is the guiding force behind Tyler Mantel’s latest project: corralling a group of engineers from around the world to manufacture ventilators to address the shortage created by COVID-19.

Mantel, the founder and CEO of Watertower Robotics—a resident at the Autodesk Technology Center in Boston that uses advanced robotics to inspect water pipes for leaks—hopes to scale ventilator production from 1,000 units in May to 100,000 units by the end of the summer. Watch the video to learn why Mantel calls his work a “humbling” experience.

[Video Transcript]

Tyler Mantel, Founder and CEO, Watertower Robotics: I was inspired to move from water pipes to ventilators at this time because of something a mentor once told me. She said to only use your time for its highest and best use. And right now, the highest and best use of my time is addressing the ventilator shortage.

The things we’ve been able to accomplish in the last few weeks would never have been possible 10 years ago. We’ve been able to rely on Autodesk Fusion 360 and other collaboration tools to develop in concert with over 250 engineers around the world.

Immediately, when we saw this problem and decided we were going to launch into it, I called every engineer I knew. We now have a distributed team of 240 people. We’ve been able to develop a product that can pump air in a controlled manner. We can get feedback from a patient.

In the month of May, we’ll be producing 1,000 units. The next month after that, we’ll be getting 10,000 units out the door. If we can produce 100,000 units by the end of the summer, we will put a huge dent in the global need.

This whole experience has been humbling to me. There are people from around the world in all walks of life that have really stepped up to address this challenge and to support this really important endeavor.  

I’m the founder and CEO of Watertower Robotics. We inspect water pipes for leaks. One of the big projects we had coming up was in Da Nang, Vietnam, where they’re a billion cubic meters short of water every year. We’ll go back to that project after the coronavirus ends, but for now, we’re solving a major problem in the world.

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