Project background

Since March 11, 2020, WHO has qualified as a pandemic the 2019-2020 epidemic of coronavirus disease (called Covid-19) that began on November 17, 2019 in the city of Wuhan, central China.

With a provisional case-fatality rate of 1 to 2% of detected cases, the challenge identified is to prevent the saturation of intensive care units.

Predictive analyses of Covid-19-related deaths make it possible, from the beginning of March 2020, to anticipate a peak in the need for intensive care units (ICU) throughout France for 10 April 2020 (see graph below).

In these estimates, it is expected that the significant overrun of the ICU capacities usually available in France will be spread over a period from 24 March to 21 April 2020.

Curve from the OpenCovid19Model project, led by members of Electrolab

Health care workers reported a predictable lack of syringe pumps in the intensive care units.

To participate in the effort to respond to this emergency, volunteer members of the Electrolab hackerspace, in collaboration with physicians, designed a first prototype of an “open source syringe pump”.

Picture and CAD view of the first OpenSyringePump prototype

Ergonomic and preliminary functional tests of this prototype were carried out on Friday 3 April 2020 by several physicians from a major Parisian hospital.

Dr. Jona JOACHIM during the preliminary trials on April 3, 2020.

As a result of these tests, a new pre-industrial design was developed. While the first version uses – for its manufacture – exclusively 3D printing techniques, all plastic parts of the initial design have been modified to be feasible by traditional subtractive machining means (milling and turning).

The aim is to make the production of OpenSyringePump compatible with large volumes in a very short time frame.

Vue CAO de l’OpenSyringePump V3.

The prototype version 3 has been medically validated on a dedicated test bench in a major Parisian hospital:

  • on April 8, 2020 for pre-qualification testing,
  • on April 10, 2020 for formal testing by biotech engineers,
  • on April 12, 2020 for a first real conditions user experience by a COVID ICU team.
Tests on a dedicated test bench, carried out in a Parisian hospital on April 8, 2020.
Dr Fabrice VALLEE during the trials on April 12, 2020.


Key words :

Electric syringe pump, electric syringe, auto push syringe, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, pandemic, medical equipment for emergency use, emergency situation, Open Hardware, Open Software, Free Software, Intensive care unit (ICU), non-profit initiative.