Mines student working on low-cost ventilator

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Paul Albani-Burgio
palbaniburgio@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/27/20

A Colorado School of Mines student is developing a low-cost ventilator that could be used in health care facilities around the world where traditional ventilators are too costly and cumbersome or …

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Mines student working on low-cost ventilator

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Posted

A Colorado School of Mines student is developing a low-cost ventilator that could be used in health care facilities around the world where traditional ventilators are too costly and cumbersome or otherwise unavailable.

Grant Kahl, a freshman in Mine’s electrical engineering program, started working on the P-Vent in mid-March at his home in San Antonio. Within 24 hours, he and a high school friend had a working prototype.

According to a story posted to the School of Mines website, the P-Vent uses a bag valve mask, or Ambu bag, a commonly used manual resuscitator that provides positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not able to breathe adequately on their own.

Instead of requiring someone to squeeze the bag, the P-Vent uses a highly customizable motor system with a battery backup and power loss alarm to automate ventilation. The team also integrated responsive breathing capabilities into the controls — a feature missing in similar models being developed elsewhere across the country, Kahl said.

Although emergency demand for ventilators is waning as COVID-19 cases decrease, the cost savings presented by the P-Vent could still make it an important resource for countries that cannot afford to buy traditional ventilators, which cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, Kahl said. The U.S. military has also expressed interest in the design for use in field hospitals.

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