University Converts CPAP Machines into Ventilators


As cities across the
United States face ventilator shortages for COVID-19 patients, a group at Auburn
University has developed a way to convert continuous positive airway pressure
(CPAP) machines into functioning ventilators.

CPAP machines are
commonly used by sleep apnea patients to help maintain an open airway during recumbent
sleep. Engineers at Auburn University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering designed
the RE-INVENT device as an accessory that would repurpose a household CPAP

Recently, the team used
their device to successfully ventilate a 200-pound male Boer goat, which has a similar
lung capacity to that of humans.

product of collaboration between engineering faculty and students, as well as medical
professionals. The device can be assembled in four hours using an existing
CPAP machine plus about $700 in commercially-available component parts,
according to the team. In comparison, a traditional ventilator can cost as much
as $25,000.

“What started as
pure intellectual curiosity quickly grew into an emotional race against time to
potentially save lives,” said Michael Zabala, assistant professor of mechanical
engineering. “We wanted to know if we could design a solution to solve the
ventilator shortage problem.”

The university is exploring
options for sharing the design with health care providers and potential

Check out this video explaining how RE-INVENT works:

Device info page: RE-INVENT

Via: Auburn

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