As cities across the United States face ventilator shortages for COVID-19 patients, a group at Auburn University has developed a way to convert continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines into functioning ventilators.
CPAP machines are commonly used by sleep apnea patients to help maintain an open airway during recumbent sleep. Engineers at Auburn University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering designed the RE-INVENT device as an accessory that would repurpose a household CPAP machine.
Recently, the team used their device to successfully ventilate a 200-pound male Boer goat, which has a similar lung capacity to that of humans.
RE-INVENT is a product of collaboration between engineering faculty and students, as well as medical professionals. The device can be assembled in four hours using an existing CPAP machine plus about $700 in commercially-available component parts, according to the team. In comparison, a traditional ventilator can cost as much as $25,000.
“What started as pure intellectual curiosity quickly grew into an emotional race against time to potentially save lives,” said Michael Zabala, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “We wanted to know if we could design a solution to solve the ventilator shortage problem.”
The university is exploring options for sharing the design with health care providers and potential manufacturers.
Check out this video explaining how RE-INVENT works:
Device info page: RE-INVENT
Via: Auburn University