“Wanjiku” Ventilators

The stark reality of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the cracks in health care systems to adequately provide support to the affected patients. 

We realize the importance of ventilators as critical for the care of people with lung failure, one of the complications suffered by patients with severe COVID-19 attacks. The scarcity of ventilators is worsened by the fact that hospitals have to reserve ventilators to treat non-COVID-19 cases such as heart attacks, strokes and other emergency cases even at this time of the pandemic.

While we appreciate that the time at hand is not adequate to develop a fully compliant ventilator based on the government specifications, we believe that developing a low-cost portable automatic respirator with minimum features available to Wanjiku would save lives. Among other features, the machine should have invasive and non-invasive feature, and supports 400-700 mL tidal volume, with a continuous working capability for 2-3 days. Furthermore, any innovation must be attentive to the needs of the larger group of the population as opposed to the few. 

To tackle this imminent shortage, at DewCIS we envision a simply home-made ventilator, a mechanical breathing device that is able to blow both air and oxygen into the lungs. Rather than reinventing the wheel, our innovation is to reuse locally available parts to assemble a ventilator. Our vision is to empower every homestead to own a ventilator at minimum cost, using a simple one-page instruction DIY manual.

The device is made of an automatic motor pulling a tough string pulley tied to the board, which then squeezes the bag-valve mask, often called  ‘Ambu Bag,’ used for resuscitation in emergency situations, to push oxygen and air into the lungs.

 Assembling “Wanjiku” Ventilator, I Prototype

The device can be assembled from locally readily reusable parts, and consumer off-the-shelf components

Motor & Motor ControllerA basic direct current (dc) motor with 7 kg torque is preferable. A car wiper motor would do. The motor controller gives the various modes of operating the motor. 
Tough string1-meter long tough nylon string, easily available from a used clothe
Bag-valve maskoften called  ‘Ambu Bag,’ used for resuscitation in emergency situations, available at local chemists 
12V direct current (dc) supplya car battery would do, an old computer power supply module or an adaptor for the 240V alternating current (ac) supply
Arduino MicrocontrollerSupports programmable features of the apparatus. 

Other parts including casing can be crafted at home or from local jua kali kiosks.

This Wanjiku ventilator is portable, and therefore adoptable in villages and other low cost residential areas without reliable power supply, and is inexpensive enough to scale up in bulk production. In dire situations, an ingenious 4-way valve splitter can be used to serve upto 4 different patients.

Future models & improvements

  1. Craft a more durable base and casing to offer sturdy mechanism.
  2. Introduce gears and pulleys for a smooth air flow and eliminate jerking.
  3. Program the motor motions to allow supports of a range of tidal volumes.
  4. Include user interface to allows selection of preset inspiratory:expiratory ratios.

Physical Exercises To Do During Isolation While Keeping Social Distance

We are creatures of habit in what we eat, where we work, what TV shows we watch, when we work out etc. Right now with Covid-19, all those habits have been shoved out of the window. The extensive social distancing policies put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 means most people will have to spend much, if not all, their time at home.

With new terms as “keeping social distance “, gyms have closed their doors, but does that mean we stop exercising and keeping fit? Remember one of the things you should do to fight this Covid-19 monster is to be physically fit. So, as we still keeping our social distance and quarantine ourselves, we can still exercise and maintain a healthy routine.  Here are a few exercise routines you can embrace and practice.

Take a walk

There are a million and one benefits of walking, which have, long been documented, this benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease, strengthening bones and muscles, and improving your mood according to medical gurus. Walking just for 30 minutes a day can make a difference. 

There is a question of how to take a walk while still maintaining social distance? Well that should not worry you if you follow simple instructions of keeping a six-foot distance between yourself and others and also wearing a mask as you take the walk.

Stairs climbing 

Using the stairs is an extremely time-efficient way to maintain fitness, and of course it’s free. If you live in an apartment with lifts, how about avoiding that uncomfortable lift encounters with other self-isolating neighbors by using the staircase for any necessary outdoor journeys. While at it, take care to avoid much contact with handrails.

Online exercise Classes.

Take advantage of the wealth of online exercise classes. Many of these are free and can be found on YouTube. With the quarantine and social distance directives, we can create our own gym through YouTube, with over a thousands of exercise videos available online. Since so many of us have smart TVs these days, one great way to build a library is to save a number of workouts into playlists you can easily stream onto the sets around your house.

Make sure to gather workout clips that cover the whole body: upper body workouts, lower body, abs, butt, cardio, strength, yoga, balance, flexibility and stretching.


Dancing is an excellent way to protect your heart lowering anxiety, reduce stress, and increase your flexibility amongst other many benefits.

Dancing also has established mental health benefits to help us cope with the coronavirus-imposed solitude. We can all agree staying at home weather working or not with this pandemic can easily stress and break anyone, even the strongest.

That said we can use this isolation time and experience the magic of music whether its reggae, Rock, local music which ever floats your boat, it will not be difficult to turn up the volume of your stereo a little higher and turn your lounge or kitchen into a little dance hall and lets dance the COVID-19 blues away at home like nobody’s watching.


With the Covid -19 crisis almost every one has been left worried, stressed and lonely with no routine. There is no better time to start practicing yoga.

It can be practiced in the comfort of your own home, at any level, regardless of how silly you may feel.

Doing Yoga on a regular basis can be extremely beneficial for your flexibility, help you boost your strength and improve your overall fitness.

With a focus on self-care, deep breathing, meditation and exercise, yoga has proven benefits for both mind and body.

Setting aside time for yoga also provides routine in your day and gives your mind a break while working from home.

Total beginners or experts could follow YouTube Videos, or purchase a book of yoga poses to work from.

Music Is The Universal Language Of Mankind

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There is always Music playing at DewCIS

.. We do this because Music has the power to quench mental anguish; is a form of art, which is universally accessible and has instantaneous effects on our minds. 

One time, when eavesdropping on a conversation of two colleagues discussing why he listens to Reggae, I found his response reaffirming at the least “ that Reggae cleanses from within and helps my mind achieve new potential, unlocking unlimited resilience when writing software codes.” His view was attested to by the ancient Hindus who believed that suffering caused by man’s uncontrolled thinking could be soothed by music therapy.

Expressive musical activities, often visible amongst some colleagues in the office singing along to streaming music, enhance the positive self-image and improve coping skills. Visibly so, because singing is a unique exercise calling upon our concentration, meditation, and breathing exercises all taking place unconsciously and simultaneously.

Nevertheless, listening to music of different genres and musical patterns affect the brain in different ways, firing disparate rush of emotions and behavioural patterns. Study has shown that listening to classical music can expand ones spatial reasoning, while listening to jazz helps with stress management. Traditional rhythmic music including chants, stringed instruments, drums and horns are very relaxing, appealing to our spirituality when played moderately loud.

Heavy metal music is great for reducing negative emotions and regulating anger and depression, especially among teens seeking validation for belonging. Avid listeners of rock music on the other hand, believe in its ability to enhance creative thinking. Listening to the sounds of nature has been shown enhance cognitive function and concentration; it is no wonder writers take time away into nature to craft their stories.

When all is said and done, music needs a mind to appreciate it. The material essence of music is found in its melody, harmony, rhythm, and dynamics. Melody gives music soul, while rhythm blends the expression of harmony and dynamics with the tempo of the beat to create a recognizable pattern.

Take a shot for those who love the sounds of the beat and be blown away by the dancing waves generated using the new revolutionary ambisonics recording technology sampled here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwNDNuC5XsQ.

But again, for those who love quiet, continue listening to the sounds of silence like the beats of your heart punctuated with the clatter of the keyboard produced by your dancing fingers. It’s all music!