Bag valve masks help paramedics, anesthesiologists, and others to oxygenate the lungs, but being manual devices the operator oftentimes has to do additional tasks, such as provide jaw thrust or use both hands to ensure good seal around the face mask.
Engineering students at Rice University made an attachment for ventilator pump bags so that they can go on indefinitely, as long as electric power is provided. The parts for the prototype device cost only $117 in total, and it works with most existing bag valve masks out there.
Though one can develop a ventilator from scratch, the team decided to build upon the ubiquitous bag valve masks that are already all over the world. This, they perceive, will give their approach an easier time at being adopted in resource-poor areas, something that is always a challenge when introducing new medical devices in difficult to reach areas.
The current student team is planning to pass on its prototype to another group that they hope will make the device more robust, able to last longer without failure, and have more controls.
Here’s a video with the students showing off and explaining their new device: