EECS Associate Profs. Prabal Dutta and Robert Pilawa-Podgurski have embarked on a project with doctors at UCSF to develop cost-effective powered air-purified respirators (PAPR) that will offer greater protection for healthcare workers from the coronavirus during higher risk medical procedures. They are using an approach originally proposed to them by Oakland resident Lakin Moser, to explore a do-it-yourself PAPR concept that would be medically acceptable, inexpensive to build and rapidly scalable for regional, national and global needs. Their prototype, which is made with a combination of off-the-shelf components and custom electronic circuits and mechanical parts sourced from Bay Area manufacturers and major electronics distributors, will cost $200 per unit–ten times less than standard devices–and can be manufactured at scale in weeks. “A key aspect of the design was to source components that are widely available, and to provide modularity to enable swap-in of alternatives if supply chain issues arise,” said Pilawa-Podgurski. The latest version of their prototype, which was built in the team’s garages and basements, is currently undergoing usability testing at UCSF Medical Center to ensure that it meets clinical standards. The team plans to post their design on the web as soon as it is finalized for production.