Tech writer Andy Ihnatko spoke with Boston Public Radio on Friday about how volunteers mass produced ventilator parts needed by a hospital in Italy.

"Hospitals were running short on an item, a valve, for a mechanical ventilator and the manufacturer couldn't provide them with any more," he said. "So the hospital in Italy decided to reach out to the local community and they found local engineers that could just use existing 3D software to reverse engineer it and make a 3D model of the part."

Another group then took that model, and were able to mass produce hundreds of copies of the valve, on a 3D-printer, Ihntako said.