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Indian American Georgia Tech. Professor Developing Low Cost, Portable Emergency Ventilator

Prof. Devesh Ranjan

ATLANTA, GA- A research team headed by Devesh Ranjan of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, has created a prototype for a low-cost, portable emergency ventilator that uses electronic sensors and computer control to manage key clinical parameters such as respiration rate, tidal volume (the amount of air moved into and out of the lungs during each cycle), inspiration and expiration ratio, and pressure on the lungs.

The Open-AirVentGT was designed to address acute respiratory distress syndrome, a common complication for COVID-19 patients that causes their lungs to stiffen, requiring their breathing to be assisted by ventilators. The new device endeavors to make breathing more natural by allowing patients to trigger their own breaths instead of relying on a respiration rate pre-set in the device.

“Our primary goal is to give the clinicians control over key parameters of the ventilator’s functionality,” Ranjan, an Indian American professor and associate chair in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, stated in a Georgia Tech press release.

“Once the system is initialized, a small on-board computer operates to maintain the setpoints governing respiration in an unattended way. The sensors and computer provide more control and real-time monitoring for doctors and other medical staff.”

Ranjan and his team have consulted the Global Center for Medical Innovation regarding steps necessary to seek FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the ventilator design.

The team has already been approached by Georgia Tech alumni in Ghana and India to set up manufacturing lines in their countries. The team is reviewing how best to release the design for others to mass produce these devices to meet the global needs, according to the Georgia Tech press release

“The impact of this could be significant if other parts of the world are hit by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ranjan said in the press release. “Having equipment that can be made quickly where it is needed and with the kind of control system doctors need could really help address the worldwide impact of this virus.”