The NAVSEA team, comprised of US Navy Engineering, Diving and Life Support, and Biomedical Research experts, set themselves apart by developing a functional solution while staying within the 300 dollar budget. Using ingenuity and can-do spirit, we kept our design simple, cheap, and capable of being built by a layperson with mostly things you can buy at local hardware stores.
The Navy Team also managed to provide many of the features of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ventilators without impacting the supply chain for traditionally manufactured ICU grade ventilators. We avoided competing with the established medical supply chain by using sensors from the diving industry and the microcontroller enthusiast community. We utilized 3D printing to bridge compatibility gaps between these sensors and all standard aerosol hoses, CPAP, and BiPAP hoses providing excellent interoperability between medical and alternative field devices. Where medical components were required, we used only standard alternative ventilation systems, which were cheap and in large supply, such as Ambu-Bags and plastic disposable PEEP valves. Using only modifications you could make in a garage, and 3D printed parts, we were able to incorporate these medical components in novel ways to make a compact and accurate device.
From the beginning, we kept patient safety as our number one goal and designed an uninterruptable power supply with battery backup, a mechanical backup ventilation via hand pump, and a redundant overpressure relief device built into our breath delivery system.