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UBC students compete to create low-cost ventilator — all while physical distancing – CBC.ca

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A group of engineering students from the University of British Columbia are among the final 10 competitors in an international competition designed to find a low-cost ventilator to help patients with COVID-19. 

The competition, called the Code Life Ventilator Challenge, is a global initiative by the Montreal General Hospital Foundation and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

At the beginning of April, 1,029 teams from 94 countries entered the two-week challenge to create “a simple, low-cost, easy-to-manufacture and easy-to-maintain ventilator which could be deployed anywhere needed to save lives.”

Laura Stankiewicz, a PhD student in biomedical engineering and member of the UBC engineering team called “FlowO2,” said her team’s strategy was to use what was already right there.

“We were thinking about what solutions are already available in the hospital that would be an easy thing to augment, add some components to it, and convert something people already know how to use,” Stankiewicz told host Gloria Macarenko on CBC’s On The Coast.

Listen to the interview with UBC PhD student Laura Stankiewicz:

April 23, 2020 The COVID-19 crisis has raised the issue of the availability of ventilators in the province. Laura Stankiewicz is a UBC student working on a lower cost ventilator. 6:28

The team decided to modify a bilevel positive airway pressure machine, commonly called a BiPap machine. These devices are often used for people who have sleep apnea. 

“Similar to a ventilator, it has all of the controls that are necessary to push air into your lungs and help you breath,” Stankiewicz said. 

Her team has been adding extra components to the machine to make it function more like a regular ventilator, and communicate a patient’s condition more accurately to the doctor or nurse. 

The UBC engineering team focused on devices already used in hospitals that could be easily modified. (Submitted by UBC)

Stankiewicz said it was important that any component they added to the existing device would be readily available, and so far, all the additions are easily found at a hardware store or online. 

In addition to the challenge of coming up with the prototype, the team has been working on the project while maintaining physical distancing. 

“I live on my Skype chat with my team, pretty much all day,” Stankiewicz said, laughing.  

“People [are] biking around the city trying to drop off supplies and making sure we’re not seeing each other as much as possible.”

Lowering costs

Using a BiPap machine and the additional components would cost as little as a tenth of what a regular ventilator costs, which can be up to $50,000.

“A BiPap usually ranges between $1,000 and $5,000 … then all of the other components that we’re adding, we’re looking for another $1,000 to $2,000,” she said. 

Stankiewicz says the team still has to iron out some software issues and get some clinical feedback on the design. 

The winning team will receive a $200,000 prize. The top three finalists will be announced next week. 

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca.  

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SpaceX Sent NASA Astronauts Into Orbit Using Linux – Futurism

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Club Penguin

This past weekend, Elon Musk-led private space company SpaceX made history by launching a pair of NASA astronauts into orbit, an accomplishment that could upset the balance of the international space industry.

According to a terrific breakdown by ZDNet, the historic launch also contributed to a shift in power from proprietary software to open source — by running the Falcon 9 rocket on a version of the open source operating system Linux.

Kernel Space Program

The unspecified version of Linux, according to ZDNet, runs on three dual-core x86 processors — a redundancy system that keeps the astronauts safe by making sure all three units agree before executing each command.

ZDNet also pointed to a 2013 Reddit post in which SpaceX employees confirmed that Dragon and Falcon 9 both on Linux.

Linus Spacevalds

SpaceX isn’t the first group to bring open source software into orbit.

The International Space Station itself, where the NASA astronauts launched by SpaceX are now residing, reportedly switched to Linux from Microsoft’s proprietary Windows operating system in 2013.

READ MORE: From Earth to orbit with Linux and SpaceX [ZDNet]

More on Linux: Linux Creator: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter Are “A Disease”

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How to watch the 'strawberry moon' eclipse from anywhere Friday – CNET

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A brilliant full moon rises at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.


NASA/Kim Shiflett

Get ready to look to the night sky on Friday. A full “strawberry moon” is on the calendar, and it will come with an understated partial eclipse for some parts of the world. While the moon will be at its absolute fullest on Friday around noon PT, you’ll have several opportunities to enjoy the view. The moon will  still look full from early Thursday morning through early Sunday morning, NASA said Monday.

North America will miss the eclipse, but the Virtual Telescope Project will livestream the lunar event from Italy above a view of the Rome skyline. Mark your calendar for noon PT on Friday, June 5, and visit the project’s web TV page to join in.   

A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total eclipse. The moon slips through the Earth’s outer (penumbral) shadow, which can trigger a slight darkening of the moon. If you didn’t know it was happening, you might miss it. A partial penumbral eclipse like the one on Friday makes it even harder to spot a difference.

Denizens of the moon, however, would notice the effects. “For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable,” NASA said.

Unfortunately, the “strawberry” nickname for the June full moon doesn’t refer to a color, but seems to be an old reference to the strawberry harvest season. NASA’s Gordon Johnston rounded up a list of alternative names for this month’s moon, including mead moon, honey moon, hot moon and planting moon.

Even if the eclipse is too faint to detect, you can still take a moment to bask in the light of a lovely full moon this week. 

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What to expect from the ECB today [Video] – FXStreet

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– Overview of market sentiment at the European open (00:00).

– Detailed look at what to expect from the ECB announcement today (2:22).

– Merkel over delivers on the latest German stimulus package (17:40).

– Oil volatility here to stay as OPEC+ meeting looms (19:17).

– UK hits out at China over HK security law as they look for 5G alternatives (26:18).

[embedded content]

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