HONOLULU (KHON2) – Hospitals around the world are in need of medical supplies while cases of the Coroanvirus grows. Now a local team of volunteers are doing their part to make and distribute ventilators.
“Kahanu” translates to “the breath” in Hawaiian and that’s exactly what a group of local doctors, engineers and machinists hope to provide.
“We are concerned with not having enough emergency bridge ventilators here in Hawaii,” said Olin Lagon, a software engineer for Project Kahanu. “Our plan is to produce as many as we need here and donate them to hospitals.”
In a span of a week, Team Kahanu has taken raw material and turned it into its first ventilator prototype.
“From here we’ll have prototype two and because time is not on our side that may be the last prototype then we go into production.”
The engineers are following a Spanish team’s design that’s already being deployed to hospitals.
But project Kahanu implements its own local twists with inspiration from an old-school shave ice machine.
“This crank in an emergency would go right at the end of this shaft and you can sit there and you can crank and you can keep somebody breathing while something is being fixed a motor is being replaced or something went wrong and you can quickly fix it,” said Blair Stultz, Vice President of Bear Machinery.
The team estimates two more weeks until production begins. From there, the ventilators will go through FDA approval before being donated to local hospitals.
“So this is our home and we’re really concerned and we just want, we hope this is never used but if we do run into the situation where we are short this does apparently work at least well enough for the Spanish folks to prove it,” said Lagon.