Afghan All-Girls Robotics Team Designs Low-Cost Ventilator To Treat Coronavirus Patients
Remember the Afghan all-girls robotics team which was denied entry to the US for a robotics competition in Washington DC back in 2017 and then they won international awards for creating robots? There’s no stopping the girls now as they invented a low-cost ventilator for treating the novel coronavirus patients.
“We are delighted that we were able to take our first step in the field of medicine and to be able to serve the people in this area as well. All members of our team feel happy because after months of hard work, we were able to achieve this result,” an 18-year-old high school student Somaya Faruqi told Reuters.
As per reports, Faruqi and six other young women from the team designed the low-cost and lightweight ventilator in just four months. They saw the opportunity to create something useful when the country reportedly had just 800 ventilators left for its patients. To put their prototype together, items like Toyota Corolla car parts and windshield wiper motors were used according to NPR.
The all-girls squad grabbed media attention when they started fighting inequality in the western city of Herat, the third-largest city in Afghanistan.
What You Should Know
- Afghan all-girls robotics team designed a low-cost ventilator for treating coronavirus patients.
- The ventilator, pending approval, is easy to carry and can go long hours on battery power.
- It costs $700 to produce, much less than the $20,000 price of a traditional ventilator.
- The all-girl squad fights inequality in the western city of Herat.
The team – winner of the Entrepreneur Award at the Robotex festival in Tallinn, Estonia, the biggest robotics festival in Europe – designed the ventilator based on a design by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and they were assisted by experts at Harvard University. The newly designed ventilator is now ready to undergo final testing.
The girls say the device is easy to carry and can sustain on battery power for up to 10 hours. It can cost roughly $700 to produce, significantly less compared with the $20,000 price of a traditional ventilator.
As per reports, Health Ministry spokesman Akmal Samsor has assured that the moment the ventilators pass through the final phase of testing they will be rolled out to multiple hospitals across the country. The designs will also be shared with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to use it for other countries.
The group of Afghanistan’s first generation female coders made headlines in 2017 as they were twice denied travel visas to the United States in order to compete in an international robotics competition. Later their entry was approved and the girls took part in the FIRST Global Challenge, which had teams from more than 150 countries, according to CNN. The girls are making a mark in the technology-enhanced world with their abilities as game-makers. They uploaded more than 20 games on digital app stores in 2018, Reuters reported. The girls majored in computers and building apps. And, guess what? They could easily track down bugs in computer codes. The ventilator was an experimental project and they succeeded in that too.
You women are truly inspirational.
Feature Image Credit: The Express Tribune