These high school students built a potentially life-saving device

Students in Maine built ventilators during the pandemic.
2:48 | 08/13/20

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Transcript for These high school students built a potentially life-saving device
We are back now with the long distance learning experiment paying off. Meet the high school students in Portland, Maine with a surprising invention that could save lives. I'm Jonathan emery. I'm the engineering teacher at Baxter academy in Portland, Maine. Our school was the first school in the state to go remote. When we first started to close down, we were hearing reports there weren't enough ventilators. Maine is a pretty rural state. If there was a ventilator shortage, we thought Maine would be susceptible to that. We wanted to build a ventilator that could be built within the state without requiring a factory and could be built from components easily assembled. We have a lot of students that are a part of our robotics team. We wanted to build something that students who had this experience could build these in isolation and get them to hospitals. This is a regulator. What inspired my class to come up with a ventilator was the shortage we were seeing of ventilators in Italy. My teacher John emery started working on this in mid March. After about a week he contacted his students and say that he was working on this and wanted input on the design and further down the line potentially prototyping it and getting it out in the world. My group got involved in the covid-19 challenge in April when our team manager Olivia found them and saw it was really aligning with our goals. We submitted it. Then we were surprised to find out we were one of seven finalists. It was amazing to see how well everybody was able to get together, work on a mission, work on a project remote. Start to finish we had three and a half months to work on the ventilator. We were up against big engineering firms that had phd candidates and rocket scientists from nasa. Meanwhile, I just learned how to drive. I think we were the only high school. We were by far the youngest team. It was intimidating, but it caused our students to dig deeper and push further and rise to the challenge. This is the example of distance learning creating opportunities. We need to make these available to a range of students, not just ones immediately available to take advantage of it. What makes emery a great teacher is his bringing every school we learned in engineering into the real world. He's teaching us how to think like engineers. It's an experience I don't think I could have learned from any other school. Remarkable. The future looks bright with those students in it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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