More than $150,000 was raised in about 24 hours to support Gekko Systems' ventilator prototype.
The scratchbuilt piece of essential hospital equipment, designed by Gekko co-founder Sandy Gray in his shed near Ballarat in just days, has the potential to save lives during the current pandemic crisis and well beyond.
Gekko managing director Elizabeth Lewis-Gray said while her husband tinkered in "the Batcave", she phoned contacts who might be able to help manufacture more prototypes for testing.
"They were delighted to support it - they spoke to other contacts they had, and it happened really quickly," she said.
"The Buninyong Community Bank, they said they'd be happy to put in $60,000 - for them, they're keen to help the local community, but also to contribute ventilators to places in need."
Ballarat individuals and families also donated $10,000 each, which could fund ventilators for a regional hospitals.
Ms Lewis-Gray said the next steps would be sourcing components and manufacturing lines, then the design will be submitted to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
"There's a whole bunch of work we need to do, and when you need to do it fast, it's a lot more expensive," she said.
"You can't go through the cost minimisation, you need to find good people and get it done, working day and night."
A pledge page for investors or group donations has been set up through Gekko's website.
For more information on COVID-19, visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus or phone the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice if you are displaying symptoms.
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