Continued from the university efforts in Pt2, another example of a university-designed automated AMBU bag-based ventilator was demonstrated by Rice University.
Working with Metric Technologies, a Canadian global health design firm, Rice University developed an automated AMBU-based ventilation unit that can be built for less than $300 worth of parts and was based on a 2018-2019 senior project. Plans for the ventilator will be freely available online to anyone in the world.
After the first proof of concept, a more robust bag valve mask (BVM) prototype was built using 3D-printed and laser-cut parts. The reconfiguration of their original rack-and-pinion device is designed to be medical grade and inexpensive enough to be considered disposable.
The prototype uses an Arduino board so users can adjust the rate of air delivery to patients depending on their existing conditions. For fine tuning the flow of air, feedback sensors are used. For long life, the design uses the same type of motors that power 3D printers.
The team is working to develop a DIY packet so others can make one. Called the ApolloBVM project, details and progress are available at ApolloBVM.
In Costa Rica, the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC) are working separately on emergency ventilators for COVID patients. Costing about $140, the UCR protype can be manufactured quickly and distributed to clinics in Cost Rica. The team does not expect their device to replace a commercial device but proposes it for temporary emergency support.
TEC researchers are working on two low-cost protypes. One protype is based on production overseas design but the other is an original design of a mechanical ventilator constructed via 3D printing.
Other US universities working on AMBU bag designs include:
University of Minnesota, where in one week, 70 team members built and successfully tested two prototypes of a motorized AMBU bag ventilator.
Vanderbilt University, where engineers and doctors have teamed up to create an automatic AMBU bag design. The feasibility model used a windshield wiper motor. The second prototype was built in less than 3 hours. The long-term goal of the project is a publicly available design that anyone can duplicate.
More approaches to come…