Portugal – "Will humanity succumb because a machine is missing?": A tweet by João Nascimento, Salesian past pupil, generates global synergy

20 March 2020

(ANS - Lisbon) - A Portuguese scientist is bringing together specialists from all over the world to develop new respirators in open source format (without commercial license): he is João Nascimento, a pupil of the Salesian Institute of Estoril, who, via Twiter, launched the challenge to the academic community, researchers, engineers, doctors, software developers and technology companies to create a fast and outsourced solution for the production of medical devices, given the large current and global needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the appearance of coronavirus in many countries around the world, public and private hospitals soon realized a sad fact: there are no breathing, ventilation and artificial lungs machines sufficient to assist all the people who require them. The manufacturers of these devices say they don't have the "ability to meet global demand."

The ex-Salesian student João Nascimento then launched the challenge through Twitter and in a few hours first hundreds and then thousands of experts from various sectors responded to his appeal.

To the newspaper "Observador", which is following the project's progress, João Nascimento said that it is tangible proof that humanity, when it works together and in solidarity, has no boundaries, even though he stressed that "at present, it's not possible to make predictions on immediate results or applications."

João Nascimento is currently studying Neuroscience and Philosophy at Harvard University and is the mentor of the "Open Air Project", based on the Slack platform and with various discussion channels.

"How was the idea born and how was the open source mechanical respirator project born?" asked journalist Laura Cordeiro. "I am one of those people who can't stand still or wait for things to happen," explained the Salesian past pupil. "Obviously, faced with a world pandemic, I thought of dismantling the problem: what is the main cause of the deaths? What is the main reason for the lack of respirators? Will humanity succumb because a machine is missing? I started thinking about the machine, which is essentially made of plastic, which immediately led me to the idea that it can be produced from a mold and therefore reproducible with 3D printer technology ... This is how I got to Twitter and to my search for open source respirators and respiratory machinery."

"I'm not the creator of anything," João says.  "I only joined the people who were already thinking about it and I suggested organizing ourselves. The merit goes entirely to those who are working on it, are researching and are committed to finding solutions. "



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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