Episode 8

Making the Spiro Wave with Joel Murphy


April 27th, 2020

51 mins 10 secs

Your Hosts
Special Guest

About this Episode

This week, on the Hello Blink Show, hosts Shawn Hymel and Harris Kenny welcome Joel Murphy to the show. This episode focuses on Joel’s work on the Spiro Wave "bridge" ventilator system that can be widely used in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how designers/small business owners can contribute to their network.

Note that this episode was recorded about 2 weeks ago. As such, some of the information may not be up to date. Specifically, the Spiro Wave device is not necessarliy completely open source, although there are plans to release parts of the design to help other companies make similar devices. Read all about it in this The New York Times piece by By Steve Lohr.

Joel is an electronics design engineer and startup entrepreneur who has co-founded four startups specializing in customizable interface sensor devices ranging from heart rate and brain computing to hearing aid development and an open source fitness tracker. He presides as a board member at the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) where he organizes hackathons and engages in public speaking seminars. As a designer, teacher, and engineer, listeners will hear about Joel’s latest project and how makers and small business owners can step up to help their community.

One Powerful Quotation:

  • 35:28: “I think the maker community and the DIY community is really well placed and already has it baked in to share, to help, to give freely, to make a difference and to understand that you can make a difference in ways that may be are not necessarily direct. You don’t have to be the person doing to the magical, wonderful thing. You can actually be contributing a little bit.”

Key Topics:

  • 1:31: Shawn recaps with Joel about the protocols involved with hospital treatment of COVID-19 patients and the demand around medical equipment needed.
  • 4:38: Shawn inquires with Joel about the shortage of ventilators and why they are used.
  • 6:18: Harris and Joel discuss the severity of the situation and the risks surrounding vulnerable departments of the world.
  • 13:00: Joel talks about his latest project, a makeshift ambulatory bag that is customized to act as a ventilator. Joel explains the difference between the two and how its implementation is used for emergencies.
  • 22:13: Shawn asks Joel about his team and if they experienced problems deploying their device across the medical field.
  • 26:30: Harris and Joel talk about how the sharing of maker/open source community knowledge with their networks can be leveraged into a formal corporate partnership.
  • 33:55: Harris asks Joel about his position and how his flexibility allowed him to take on his most recent project. Joel agrees and adds that the maker/DIY community can indirectly help give back to their network.
  • 38:05: Joel shares with how listeners can get involved. He includes associations needing volunteers and being “hyperlocal” in your neighborhood.
  • 43:46: Joel gives his final thoughts and why he believes in upholding regulations as a gate-keeper for safety and care.

List of Bulleted Resources
Spiro Wave in The New York Times
Contagion movie
Open Source COVID-19 Medical Supplies Facebook Group
MIT e-vent project

Guest Contact Information
Joel Murphy

Host Contact Information:

License Information:
“Hello Blink Show” by Kenny Consulting Group, LLC and Skal Risa, LLC is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Intro and outro song is “Routine” by Amine Maxwell is licensed under CC BY 3.0

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