U of I researchers create emergency ventilator prototype

Coronavirus

URBANA, Ill. — Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a prototype that could fill the gap in the shortage of commercial ventilators.

The emergency ventilator, dubbed the Illinois Rapidvent, was created by a team of about 40 engineers, students and physicians at Carle Hospital.

Unlike the sophisticated ventilators in short supply across the state and country, Rapidvent is disposable and for use with one patient.

“Our focus has been on something that is simple and that could be implemented very quickly,” said professor Bill King. “We have been living in the Apollo 13 movie. Much like a group of NASA engineers and scientists got together to focus on a specific problem around the clock.”

Researchers are now working to get the ventilator approved by the FDA. If it does, they hope manufacturing of the device will help Illinois battle COVID-19.

King said the prototype has worked for more than 75 hours and 125,000 breathing cycles.

“The very first one worked great it was one of the best moments of the whole project.  Everyone had a sigh of relief and excitement and joy,” King said. “That first device has worked now for more than 75 hours , more than 125,000 breathing cycles.”

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