Italian engineers' brilliant 3-D printed hack turns scuba gear into ventilator masks
via Reddit

One of the biggest issues in treating those affected by COVID-19 is a lack of medical equipment. Italy, the country second hardest-hit by the pandemic, has faced shortages in equipment and hospital beds.

This puts doctors in the terrible position of having to decide who gets treatment and who does not.

One of the most important tools in the fight against COVID-19 are ventilators.


"A ventilator is a fairly fancy piece of technological equipment which is designed to breathe for somebody who is unable to breathe effectively on their own," David Hill, a pulmonologist who sits on the board of the American Lung Association, said according to PBS.

In severe cases of COVID-19, a patient's lungs become inflamed and filled with fluid which makes it difficult for them to breathe and oxygenate their blood.

A ventilator could mean the difference between life and death.

Due to the shortage of ventilator masks in northern Italy, a doctor reached out to Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli, engineers at Isinnova, a 3-D printing company, with the idea of making masks out of scuba equipment.

In just three hours, the engineers created a prototype for a 3-D printed valve that successfully converts the scuba gear into a ventilator mask.

"We had never made valves before, but we wanted to help," they said according to The Independent.

The engineers then reached out to French sporting goods retailer Decathlon to see if they could use the Subea Easybreath snorkeling mask for the project. The company was "immediately willing to cooperate."

The first fully-working prototype was tested at the Chiari Hospital and proven to be effective. After the successful test, the engineers printed 100 more valves.

The engineers quickly patented the valve, but then made the 3-D printing files free so anyone with a printer can produce them during the crisis. "We clarify that our initiative is totally non-profit, we will not obtain any royalties on the idea of the link, nor on the sales of Decathlon masks," the engineers said.

The valves cost about a dollar to make according to The Independent.

via Cristian Fracassi / YouTube

While the engineers are proud of their success in creating the ventilator masks, they stress they are just a stop-gap solution.

"We are reiterating that the idea is designed for healthcare facilities and wants to help in realization of an emergency mask in the case of a full-blown difficult situation, where is not possible to in find official healthcare supplies," the engineers said.

Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need," they continued. "Usage by the patient is subjected to the acceptance of use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration."

The engineers at Isinnova are a fantastic example of the powerful ways that out-of-the-box thinking combined with partnerships between healthcare and outside industries can help us get through the pandemic.

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

Keep Reading Show less