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Prototype Power Tool Ventilator

In March 2020, COVID-19 struck New York City which created an immediate shortage of medical supplies and devices. Medical grade ventilators to help patients breathe were extremely limited in supply and any manual Ambu bag compressions would be too inconsistent for patients. The goal of this project was to design a semi-automated ventilator that would use more readily available materials to alleviate supply shortage.

  • This prototype was designed in SolidWorks with readily available parts like metal rails and a rubber belt.

  • To allow for semi-automated usage, it was decided to use a power drill to compress the Ambu bag as there was no shortage of power drills.

  • It was important to consider the implications of creating a device that would assist breathing like the maximum speed at which human lungs can take in air.

  • A gear box was included in the design to change the rate of compression from the power drill to better match the needs of human lungs.


CAD model for handheld power drill powered ventilator prototype. This ventilator uses the torsional power form the power drill to coil a band and compress an Ambu bag.

This design never became a physical prototype because it was too impractical to have to modify the design for each different type of power drill. Additionally, the possibility of harming lungs was too big of a risk factor to use an inaccurate power source for compression. 

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