Drexel University engineer invents inexpensive, backup ventilator to save lives amid COVID-19

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Drexel University engineer has invented a simple, inexpensive backup ventilator to help save lives in the fight against COVID-19.

Marek Swoboda has been working on a breathing vest for C-O-P-D patients.

Swoboda thought the request from Penn's health system last month was impossible, creating 500 basic ventilators in two weeks. But his start-up, "RightAir" built a prototype in just five days.

Swoboda's "Y-vent" uses $10 in materials, with a Y-shaped mechanism made on a 3D printer. It's based on simple ventilators used by the Army and rescue teams half a century ago.

The ventilator is disposable and can be hooked up to standard hospital air pressure lines, or even a compressor.

"Which is fantastic for this particular application, because we have COVID-19 infected patients and we don't want to have this issue with disinfection and a lot of equipment which needs to be cleaned," said Swoboda.

RightAir has made the design open-source, so anyone can access the plans.

Swoboda wants to make some improvements, and apply for FDA approval.

Hopefully, Swoboda says, we'll never need these for the pandemic, but could be life-savers for EMS teams or military field medics.
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