Fitbit has developed a ventilator to help COVID-19 patients
Fitbit has now designed a ventilator in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Unveiled on Wednesday, the Fitbit Flow is an "easy-to-use, and low-cost" emergency ventilator designed in consultation with healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients. Based on manual resuscitator bags used by paramedics, the ventilator features various sensors to help monitor patients, and allows the pressure and volume of oxygen delivery to be controlled.
The Fitbit Flow also has a clear window through which healthcare workers can view the automated resuscitator bag being pumped.
It isn't a long-term solution — conventional ventilators are still sorely needed. Instead, the Fitbit Flow is intended to act as a temporary stopgap keeping patients alive until they can be put on a standard machine.
"We know from some conversations that physicians are already trying to work out the ethics in deciding who gets the ventilator and who doesn’t, due to shortage of supply," said Dr. Tony Faranesh, a Fitbit research scientist who helped develop the ventilator. "The goal here is to support life in the event that one’s not available until one might become available."
The FDA has already authorized the Fitbit Flow for emergency use during the pandemic where conventional ventilators aren't available.