University of Minnesota Develops Simpler, Inexpensive Mechanical Ventilator

With the rise of COVID-19 cases throughout the United States, one of the biggest concerns is the potential shortage of ventilators for patients who have severe viral pneumonia. A team at the University of Minnesota has designed a mechanical ventilator that is inexpensive and made of easy to obtain materials.

Unlike traditional ventilators, the Coventor does not require pressurized oxygen. The device consists of a frame and mechanical actuator that compresses a traditional ambulatory ventilation bag (aka Ambu bag or bag valve mask), which is connected to the patient’s endotracheal tube and is used to pump either external compressed oxygen or ambient air.

Frame and mechanical actuator to stabilize and compress a commercially available ambulatory ventilation bag connected to the patient’s endotracheal tube and external compressed oxygen, or if oxygen is not available, ambient air.

The finished device is about the size of a cereal box, and the frame itself can be metal stamped, 3D printed, or made with modified consumer goods. Currently, ventilators made by the development team will ship from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The device was conceived and originally designed by Dr. Steve Richardson, an anesthesiology fellow at the University of Minnesota. It is a result of collaboration between the University and local manufacturing, electronics, and medical device companies. With the collaboration, the development team touts that they can acquire components and assemble thousands of ventilators per week to start.

“The reason that we’re here today is that somebody needed
this ventilator that we’re making, yesterday,” said Richardson said in a video
created by the development team. “This allows those patients who would
otherwise not have an opportunity to survive, to survive. It gives people a

Check out this video on the Coventor:

Product page: Coventor

Flashbacks: MIT Emergency Ventilator Submitted for FDA Review; Automated Machine for Pumping Bag Valve Masks; The Oxylator – Emergency Ventilation With No Wires

Via: University of Minnesota

Cici Zhou is currently a medical student at the University of Oklahoma. In the past, she has done management consulting for medical startups and recently spent summer as a lab researcher at UC San Francisco. As a future physician, she’s excited by the intersection of medicine + technology because of its ability to completely transform the industry and touch millions of lives.

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