Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team is winning praises across the world as they are making affordable ventilators using car parts attempting to support their country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team of girls, aged between 14 and 17, built a prototype of a ventilator using a chain drive from a Honda motorcycle and motor from a worn-out Toyota Corolla. Amid lockdown restrictions, they were unable to procure all parts required to build the ventilator from electronic shops or online so they started using car parts to develop the much-needed medical equipment. According to reports, the team is working on two prototypes – one gear-based ventilator inspired by a low-cost design from MIT and another powered by the motor of a Toyota Corolla.
They have emphasized that the ventilators that they are assembling can be used only in cases of emergency, when conventional ventilators are not available, to provide temporary relief to patients who are facing respiratory difficulty. The team is hoping that ventilators will be readily available by the end of May, after which the machines will undergo official testing and approval.
The all-girls robotics teams, officially named as the Afghan Dreamers, were recognized in 2017 when they won a special medal for their achievement at the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, a robotics competition held by FIRST in the United States. They went ahead making headlines with their work in Afghanistan and other countries across the world. After the 2020 FIRST Robotics season was canceled in the wake of pandemic lockdown, the talented girls shifted their focus in contributing to Afghanistan’s response against Coronavirus.
Earlier in May, Afghanistan media reported that a group of scientists at the Kabul Medical University (Abu Ali Ibn-e-Sina) were successful in making ventilators with available materials from the market during the lockdown. The Ministry of Higher Education stated that the ventilators will be used to treat the Coronavirus patients with serious conditions.
Amid ongoing war with the Taliban, the Afghan government is grappling with the global health crisis as the number of infected cases continues to rise. The pandemic battle has further crippled the public health infrastructure with the war-torn country facing a lack of basic medical supplies. As of May 22, Afghanistan has over 8,600 COVID-19 infected cases and more than 190 people have lost their lives to the disease.
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