High School Students Create Makeshift Ventilator To Help Fight COVID-19

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A group of high school students in Wisconsin with some extra time on their hands due to the pandemic have developed a makeshift ventilator to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Designed by four students at Ashwaubenon High School, located just outside Green Bay, the group spent hours on Project WISCO, which stands for Wooden Instrument to Supply COVID Patients with Oxygen.

“I only built it with three tools: a circular saw, a jigsaw, and a drill,” said senior Callie Raacke, who leads the group.

The student team, which also includes Naveen Balu, Mikayla Mitchell and Brady Wittig, built the ventilator with about $50 dollar in supplies.

“We discussed design ideas and design challenges and did literature reviews to make sure we really understand what a ventilator was and how to minimize the cost,” Raacke told WLUK-TV.

A ventilator in a hospital is normally a medical grade ventilator that sometimes can be inserted into the person. The students’ version is non-invasive, intended to aid patients through a nasal mask.

“Those can actually help COVID patients before they have to get to the medical grade ventilator,” Raacke said.”

The Ashwaubenon High School ventilator made it’s way to the University of Kansas, where the design took third place in a national contest.

“Of course I’m not an engineer but that’s why we gave it to the University of Kansas engineer students who can hopefully start mass producing many different types of ventilators, Raacke said.

The group is hoping to breathe new life into the community, and they hope others give back in their own ways.

“If I can build it in my garage I think other people can as well if they have enough drive, so just put yourself out there,” she said.

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