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Fitbit Flow: An Emergency Ventilator to help COVID-19 Patients

Fitbit has now designed a ventilator in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Unveiled on Wednesday, June 3, the Fitbit Flow is an “easy-to-use, and low-cost” emergency ventilator designed in consultation with healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.

According to the American Thoracic Society, a ventilator (also known as a mechanical ventilator, respirator, or breathing machine), is a life support treatment that helps people breathe when they can’t breathe on their own. The machine gets oxygen into the lungs and the body and helps to get rid of carbon dioxide through the lungs.

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According to  James Park, Co-founder, and CEO of Fitbit, “COVID-19 has challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more rapidly develop products that support patients and the healthcare systems caring for them.”

“We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for emergency ventilators and help make a difference in the fight against this global virus,” he added.

It was inspired by the MIT E-Vent Design Toolbox and designed by Fitbit Engineers and researchers, with valuable input from clinicians caring for COVID-19 patients from Oregon Health and Science Hospital and the MassGeneralBrigham Center for COVID Innovation on the needs of practitioners and, in particular, toward our still-evolving understanding of the needs of patients with COVID-19.

“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.