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Strategic Research Initiatives

Emergency Ventilator for COVID-19

William P. King, Sameh Tawfick, Tonghun Lee, Blake Johnson, Mike Philpott: Mechanical Science and Engineering

Brain Pianfetti: Civil Engineering

Gregg Elliot: Aerospace Engineering

Jennifer Amos: Bioengineering

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world in 2020 by spreading at unprecedented rates and causing tens of thousands of fatalities within a few months. The number of deaths increased in regions where the number of patients in need of hospital care exceeded the availability of care. Many COVID-19 patients experience Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), a condition that can be treated with mechanical ventilation. There is a need for ventilator technology that would allow a hospital to rapidly increase its capacity to provide mechanical ventilation to patients that require it. These surge capacity ventilators should be simple, accessible, and scalable.

The goal of this project is to develop an emergency ventilator (EV), which is a device that can provide mechanical ventilation on an emergency basis. We propose to develop an EV that can control a patient’s peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) and breathing rate, while keeping a positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP). We will design, prototype, and conduct functional testing on the EV. The development process will use state-of-the art software and hardware tools as well as modern design methodologies to rapidly develop functional prototypes. Our goal is to develop validated designs that can be made available to other organization under a free license. Additionally, we will demonstrate technologies and methods for for ultra-fast product design, engineering, and testing of medical devices needed for COVID-19 emergency response.