High-end PC builder Maingear will produce ventilators for the NYC area

For ‘approximately a quarter of the price of traditional ventilators’

Maingear is known for building custom, high-end gaming PCs, but it’s responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic in a noble way by developing ventilators to help patients who suffer from COVID-19. It has allocated a portion of its manufacturing capability specifically to aid New York City’s overwhelmed intensive care units. In a press release, it also pledged to scale up its efforts if necessary to assist hospitals around the world with its ventilators.

The New Jersey-based company claims that its Maingear LIV ventilator, which it developed in-house alongside medical advisers in just a few weeks, is made by using off-the-shelf parts and can be “produced for approximately a quarter of the price” of what regular ventilators cost to make. According to a company spokesperson, that price is approximately $7,500, compared to upwards of $50,000, which they claim is the ballpark cost for a traditional ventilator. A company spokesperson shared with The Verge that the company will be ready to deploy its LIV ventilator in as fast as two weeks, pending FDA clearance.

Maingear says that the LIV features an “easy to use touchscreen interface” by way of an Nvidia Shield tablet using custom software and “redundant power supplies,” the latter of which are in place as a failsafe. But it sort of just looks like a PC chassis retrofitted with the ability to be a ventilator. Rahul Sood, an adviser to Maingear, said that it accomplishes the company’s two main goals: to make a ventilator that’s simple to use, and to make it affordable. 

Maingear CEO Wallace Santos told The Verge that the company hopes to eventually improve the software with the ability to allow for remote login, so that doctors can manage patients remotely.

Other US-based companies are transitioning their means of production to assist hospitals with ventilators and other personal protective equipment (PPE), including Apple’s face shield and GM’s and Ford’s ventilators. Maingear credits Dr. Deepak Kaura, as well as Dr. Nahush Mokadam of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center with helping them to quickly get the LIV ventilator project off the ground.

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