The COVID-19 pandemic made clear the importance of emergency ventilator support—and that surges of people in respiratory distress or cases in areas where conventional, full-featured ventilators are unavailable can create a critical need for that support. On March 16, 2020, a team of more than 40 engineers, doctors, medical professionals, designers, and manufacturing experts from industry launched an Apollo 13-style project to help address that need.
The team focused on designing a device that could help the sickest patients to breathe, by plugging into the oxygen source available in most hospital rooms or into a tank of oxygen. Less than one week later, the team demonstrated a working prototype. Illinois RapidVent prototypes have run for more than 1.5 million breathing cycles, and the design had been licensed by more than 60 external organizations.
On May 12, 2020, Belkin announced that it was collaborating with The Grainger College of Engineering to produce an emergency ventilator based on the Illinois RapidVent concept, pending review and approval of the company’s Emergency Use Authorization application by the Food and Drug Administration. Learn More
In September 2020, Aerospace precision engineering and manufacturing company Aequs announced the launch of AQoventTM, a medical-grade, low-cost, and mass-produced mechanical resuscitator based on the license procured on the concept design from the University of Illinois RapidVent.