HIROSHIMA--Japanese researchers are moving to offer free blueprints that will allow health care providers to create their own ventilators using 3-D printers.

Scientists at Hiroshima University and elsewhere started the project in the hope of addressing a global ventilator shortage due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

Requests to offer drawing data for the breathing machine for medical purposes poured in from around the world.

“We are fighting a powerful enemy,” Tomohiko Kisaka, an associate professor of bio-design at Hiroshima University’s Translational Research Center, told a news conference in March. “We want to save lives by harnessing the power and wisdom of science.”

The substitute for a mechanical ventilator can be assembled from four printed parts. The spring-equipped respirator works on air pressure, even without electricity, according to the researchers.

The machine was developed by Naoyuki Ishikita, a doctor at Niigata Hospital in Niigata Prefecture, in 2017 for use in space. It was successfully recreated with a 3-D printer on the International Space Station.

Ishikita, Kisaka and other project members plan to obtain approval to release the mechanical ventilator as a medical device. They will also develop a manual to allow health care providers across the globe to take advantage of it.