The New Possible podcast is a monthly podcast that sheds light on the future of making things – from COVID-19 ventilators to sustainable motorcycles. Each episode tells the story of how a company unlocked their new possible using Autodesk’s Fusion 360. Follow along as we dive into the who’s, what’s, and how’s behind some of the most exciting innovations. Listen to the New Possible podcast on all major hosting platforms, including Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and Google.
2020 was quite a year. Among the many problems we faced as individuals and as nations, the global COVID-19 pandemic brought on a set of new challenges for the world’s healthcare and government systems at large. Just about every industry — from education to manufacturing — was (and still is) affected in some way by the pandemic.
As with any major world challenge, designers and engineers quickly rose to the occasion to create solutions for medical professionals on the front line, essential workers keeping vital businesses open, and even regular folks stopping the spread from home. For many design firms that stepped up, this marked their first time entering the healthcare space.
When you think of leading San Francisco-based design firm fuseproject, for example, medical equipment is likely not the first picture that comes to mind. The firm is most widely known for its consumer product work — think sleek smart cameras, air purifiers disguised as furniture, and futuristic home fitness equipment.
But as the fuseproject team watched ventilator shortages reach hospitals across the globe, they felt strongly that they needed to use their resources to contribute a solution. So, the designers quickly set out to develop a rapidly deployable ventilator in collaboration with medical device startup CIONIC for Mass General Hospital’s CoVent19 Challenge.
The result is VOX, a ventilator that features modularity, simple manufacturing processes like 3D printing, affordable off-the-shelf solutions, and a customizable UI. VOX costs less than $1,000 to produce and can be assembled in under 4 hours. To put that into perspective, ICU ventilators can cost between $25,000 and $50,000, depending on features.
VOX connects to IV poles to enable speedy mounting, height adjustability, and easy transport. Its built-in dashboard functionality allows for remote monitoring from a single device for up to four ventilators at a time, which drastically reduces personal exposure to disease and contamination.
When we say VOX was designed quickly, that’s an understatement. As the team recalls, many countless nights were spent interviewing medical workers, learning about how ventilators work, and perfecting the final design in Fusion 360.
The New Possible podcast sat down with fuseproject’s Daniel Zarem, Naomi Kwon, and Jon Reyr who spearheaded the project to learn more about VOX, the production challenges and triumphs they faced during the design process, and when we can expect to see the ventilator in use.