Think you've spent your lockdown productively?
A group of students from St John's College in Hastings have spent the past four weeks creating a working ventilator from scratch.
As part of their extra-curricular social enterprise practice, Year 12 and 13 students Dylan Wijaya, Alan Uthup, Tomas Cavaney, Fred Devereux, Harshvir Singh, Lachlan Ross, Ishan Parmar, James Oliver and Jayden Gordon made the machine while at their homes.
"When word came the college was closing at day's end, there was uncertainty, confusion and sadness," St John's Head of Commerce David Ivory said.
"But within hours students had developed their thinking, considered ideas to make a difference in the new circumstances, and decided on producing low-cost ventilators. They would be needed as New Zealand has a low per-capita number."
The group meet online seven days a week via Zoom to discuss the project and process of construction.
The ventilator was made by principal designer and constructor, Year 12 student Dylan Wijaya, in his home.
Technical support was provided by science teacher Michael Pohlenz, who would provide suggestions on the project and give them questions to consider.
The three-week process of building the ventilator named Project Pear has been an "agonising long journey", Wijaya said.
The group has faced many challenges along the way such as redeveloping prototypes, and parts breaking.
As the lockdown provides limited access to parts, the group have had to substitute some parts and relied on community donations.
"Students had to improvise massively – students were building something with nothing.
"To be honest, I have been astounded by the development of PEAR, the progress made each day, and the resilience of the students involved," Ivory said.
Working separately online has added to the challenge.
"If it were in person it would take moments, online it can take hours," Pohlenz said.
The final design, which took three days to make, is a working ventilator which has functioned successfully on two 24-hour continuous cycles, Ivory said.
The ventilator is powered by a 7.5-volt drill which the group are hoping to replace with a small motor when the lockdown is lifted.
When the lockdown lifts, the group hope to adjust the final product and supply it to hospitals.
Wijaya said they are aiming to make as many as possible to meet demand would continue the project "until this issue has been solved".
The group has shared the process on their dedicated Facebook page, Project Pear.
School principal Robert Ferreira said the project was an "impressive endeavour".
"I am amazed at their innovation, being able to build a ventilator from little or no basic starting material, to planning and bringing the final product to fruition.
"I am thrilled that they have used all of their academic knowledge as well as their passion to make a difference and to contribute meaningfully to society," he said.