Rice University Engineers ‘MacGyver’ an Inexpensive Ventilator for Coronavirus Patients

Must Read

Trump Supporters Are Significantly More Enthusiastic Than Biden Backers, New Poll Shows

President Donald Trump is nearly tied with Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden in a hypothetical general election matchup, while...

‘Bad Boys For Life’ Early Streaming Release Date: When Is the Will Smith Movie Available to Watch Online?

Bad Boys For Life: One of the few 2020 movies whose release was not hit by the impact of...

‘Star Wars’ actor, ‘Lord of the Rings’ dialect coach Andrew Jack dies of coronavirus at age 76

Andrew Jack, a British actor who starred in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and was also a dialect coach...

Best Passport Photo Apps for Android & iOS – Passport Photo Near Me

The Best Passport Photo Apps for Android and iOS to get Digital Passport Photo Code & print with your mobile...

TikTok Numbers Soar Now That Everybody Is At Home Trying To Get Famous

With people stuck at home self-isolating, TikTok has seen a spike in users and downloads as more people try...

At Rice University in Houston, engineers assembled a ventilator that may one day help coronavirus patients breathe. From left to right, Thomas Herring, Fernando Cruz and Danny Blacker.

Photo: Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Rice University engineers are building a prototype of a ventilator using 3-D printed parts and hobby-store materials for possible use by coronavirus patients in dire need of breathing machines.

The invention could be a stopgap for hospitals around the country in need of thousands of ventilators as the crush of Covid-19 cases climbs in the coming weeks.

“It’s a rolling tide of disaster,” said Rohith Malya, an emergency medicine doctor at Baylor College of Medicine and adjunct assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice, a Houston research university.

The ventilator, nicknamed ApolloBVM, weighs 8 pounds and could be mass-produced for less than $200 each, said Dr. Malya, who advised the team, made up of a Rice undergraduate and five faculty and staff members. It could be used at hospitals short on conventional ventilators in the coming days, possibly in Houston, under emergency use authorization, he added. The Food and Drug Administration has relaxed

some restrictions on lifesaving equipment, given the extreme need.


Rice University Engineers ‘MacGyver’ an inexpensive ventilator for coronavirus patients.


cut case*



PVC bag

Readout screen

3D printed gears

Covid-19 patients in intensive care often require ventilators for several days to help them breathe, given the huge strain the virus puts on the lungs, Dr. Malya said.

Ordinary ventilators, which blow oxygenated air directly into a patient’s lungs at a controlled rate and volume, can weigh hundreds of pounds and cost tens of thousands of dollars. They take five to 10 days to manufacture, depending on global supply-chain processes, and require hundreds of different parts, Dr. Malya said.

The ventilator the Rice engineering team is building has 80% of the functionality of a full-size ventilator, he said, and could be used for the less severely ill.

The automated ventilator could also replace the practice of manually pumping air into patients’ lungs using devices known as bag-valve masks, he said. Medical professionals can tire rapidly doing it, and risk infecting themselves as well.

The bag-valve-mask is the linchpin of the ApolloBVM prototype, said Thomas Herring, a senior at Rice in computer engineering and robotics who is leading the project. Surrounding the bag valve, two “arms” automate the pumping of the valve.

While 3-D printers could help quickly make specific components of ventilation systems, there are challenges with assembly, said Gaurav Manchanda, director of health care at 3-D printing company Formlabs Inc.

“Training health-care professionals to use these assembled ventilators with little to no diagnostic information and then troubleshooting any issues that may arise could lead to even more risk for the patients,” he said in an email.

There are between 60,000 and 160,000 ventilators in the U.S., according to a research paper published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. But nationwide distribution is uneven. In New York City, an epicenter of the pandemic, caregivers have access to about 3,500. The city has requested an additional 15,000 from the federal government, of which it has received 2,360 so far, a city spokeswoman said.

Write to Sara Castellanos at sara.castellanos@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Join Wall Street Journal For Just $1
Credit: WSJ.com

------ Search with Google ------
- Advertisement -


10 travel shows and movies to avoid coronavirus cabin fever

Travel guru Rick Steves overlooks a valley in Northern England.(Photo: Courtesy of Rick Steves) — Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make...

Hospital in Brooklyn Looks Like A ‘War Zone,’ Emergency Room Doctor Says: ‘We’re Fighting For Our Own Lives Too’

A doctor in New York City's Brooklyn borough compared the scene at her hospital to a "war zone," as the coronavirus pandemic continues to...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -
Learn to create professional videos and have fun in the process of creating videos.
Video Review And Collaboration.
Get Started