= An open-source, low-cost, web-guided spirometer
"The measurement of lung function is essential to the diagnosis and management of respiratory disease, and to research into its origins and treatment. However, current spirometers are not affordable for the majority of health care providers in many low and lower middle income countries, and are not widely used despite a massive and increasing burden of chronic lung disease. A low cost alternative to current commercial products could radically improve the quality of care for the 300 million people worldwide who have chronic respiratory disease.
The objective of this project, started by David Van Sickle in January 2009, is to develop an open source, low cost, and clinically functional spirometer that measures lung flows and volumes. We envision a first generation device that connects to a computer via a USB port and guides and coaches patients through the testing using digital audiovisual clips.
As the test is performed, a combination of client and server software would graphically display flow and volume data, monitor and evaluate the quality of the maneuver, and instruct the subject when their performance needs to be corrected. The software would also carry out some rudimentary analysis and interpretation using algorithms available from the American Thoracic Society.
The idea is to develop a tool that would be widely affordable and would standardize pulmonary function measurements by delivering the same instruction and coaching across sites for the first time.
Over the next six months we hope to create a promising design based on some objectives and requirements, and develop a compelling proof-of concept (including the basic hardware and a simple GUI), that will help us generate enthusiasm for the project and accelerate its development.
We hope you will help us develop a tool that could dramatically improve global respiratory health. We intend to grow an online community for the project, and, hopefully, to interact with other interested designers, engineers, respiratory physicians, and scientists around the world." (http://openspirometry.org/about/)