Fitbit has launched a ventilator, Fitbit Flow, as an answer to the challenges faced by the medical industry to fight the COVID-19 crisis. The lack of enough conventional ventilators compelled Fitbit to engineer an easy-to-use and low-cost automatic resuscitator designed for emergency ventilation. It doesn’t look to replace the conventional standard ventilators but wants to act as a support system for someone who needs mechanical ventilation when a commercial ventilator isn’t available. Fitbit Flow has already received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fitbit Flow looks to act a temporary ventilator for those in immediate need. A ventilator, for those unaware, is essentially a machine that helps people breathe when they can’t breathe on their own. The machine forces oxygen into the lungs of the patient and aids to get rid of the carbon dioxide. The Fitbit Flow, the wearable manufacturer explains, is built on standard resuscitator bags and comes with sophisticated instruments, sensors, and alarms. All of these work together to support patient monitoring of oxygen supply and automated compressions with controlled delivery of volume or pressure.
Fitbit Flow is easy to use and doesn’t require trained professionals to operate. This enables more volunteers to monitor a patient, given that trained staff supply is strained at the moment. The mechanical ventilator is compact in size and made from laser-cut aluminum. The Fitbit Flow can sit on a tabletop or a stand with wheels for ease in mobility. This stand is big enough to fit various sizes of oxygen tanks. The Fitbit Flow hardware includes a clear viewing window for doctors to observe the automated pumping from a distance.
“We know from some conversations that physicians are already trying to work out the ethics in deciding who gets the ventilator and who doesn’t, due to shortage of supply,” said Fitbit’s Senior Staff Research Scientist Dr. Tony Faranesh. “The goal here is to support life in the event that one’s not available until one might become available.”
The team at Fitbit is working on improving the Fitbit Flow by including a high-resolution add-on display, for viewing the system’s status and pressure waveforms.