Call for volunteers to join the Open Source Team for the Open Ventilator System Initiative (OVSI)


Join the Open Ventilator System Initiative (OVSI)

Being involved with this project will ensure that you gain valuable experience of working with medical device prototypes, are able to produce high-quality open source documentation, gain understanding of a complete design process and how to communicate that clearly to other collaborators, and provide you with the chance to engage with a range of international collaborators.  It is also a fantastic opportunity to work on a project that has the potential to save lives.

This is a small team, so places are limited.
Please apply early if you are interested in this unique opportunity.
Deadline: Friday, 6 November, 5pm GMT
Email applications (maximum 2 pages) to:


The Open Ventilator System Initiative (OVSI) was established in March 2020 to develop an open source, low cost, high-quality ventilator system for under resourced contexts, such as public hospitals in low- and middle-income countries

Initially, the OVSI consortium was convened to respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, beyond the pandemic there is a widespread need for low-cost oxygen therapy devices to be made available to millions of people suffering from respiratory diseases in low-resource settings.

A fully functioning prototype ventilator was produced in April (pictured below), and work to produce a certified medical device is continuing.

A vital aspect of the OVSI initiative is for the designs to be open sourced so that they are available globally. We are assembling a small team of dedicated volunteers to make this happen in the next six weeks.


Team members should be confident in their ability to create clear and concise documentation that captures the design, manufacture and assembly in full, and that is presented in a format that is appropriate for the open source environment on GitLab.

The expected time commitment for this project is 5 hoursper week during the Michaelmas term.

Technically the tasks are as follows:

Design documentation has already been added to the sharing platform GitLab. There are three further tasks to complete:

  • Checking the existing documentation against the physical device and finalising the design schematics
  • Systematically disassembling the device to capture individual mechanical components
  • Rebuilding the device to capture the assembly process in detail

Electronics and Control
The electronics and control systems need to be fully drawn up, including the wiring diagrams. Various PCB drawings will also need to be produced from scratch.


2 students for aero-mechanical documentation

  • Preferably 3rd/4th year engineering students
  • Hands-on experience with mechanical systems
  • Ability to systematically identify sub-systems of a device and capture information about each sub-system
  • Ideally experience with open source hardware documentation on platforms such as GitLab/GitHub etc. but not necessary

1 student for electronics and control documentation

  • Preferably 3rd/4th year engineering student
  • Hands-on experience with electronics systems
  • Ability to reverse engineer circuits to develop wiring diagrams
  • Ideally experience with developing PCB drawings from wiring diagrams and hardware documentation on platforms such as GitLab/GitHub etc. but not necessary

1 student for photography and design communication

  • Engineering student in any year
  • Experience with photography and ability to accurately capture component detail visually, as well as building up a story to communicate assembly processes clearly
  • Experience with thorough project documentation and ideally experience with open source hardware documentation on platforms such as GitLab/GitHub etc. but not necessary


To apply to join the project team, please submit a brief outline of your experience and motivations that are related to one of the roles above. We will be reviewing these on a rolling basis so please submit your application to as soon as possible to avoid missing out. 

For applications, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with Andrew.

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