Auburn University has assembled more than 100 of its innovative emergency ventilators – converted from CPAP machines – which may soon join the fight against COVID-19.
Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering officials said it has teamed with defense contractor Integrated Solutions for Systems (IS4S) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville to begin assembling the RE-InVENT devices.
Auburn said several medical facilities around the world, preparing for worst-case coronavirus patient load scenarios, have reached out to the RE-InVENT team for possible assistance.
In response, a team of 14 engineers and support staff from Huntsville-based IS4S assembled 100 RE-InVENT units in three days.
“We’ve worked with IS4S on multiple projects for years,” said Michael Zabala, an assistant mechanical engineering professor who helped lead the RE-InVENT project.
“Because of our great partnership with IS4S, we have been able to move extremely fast toward building the first 100 units, and ultimately toward getting them to those who need them.”
Ryan Hill, an IS4S research engineer and Auburn graduate, said IS4S is readying the current stock of RE-InVENT devices for distribution.
“We have already received requests from a number of hospitals, and our goal is to obtain appropriate approvals so that we can begin deploying the units,” said Hill, who played an active role on the engineering team that developed and refined RE-InVENT.
Auburn said RE-InVENT, currently in its third iteration, has twice been tested on animals, with both tests underscoring the device’s design and efficacy as a backup option in the absence of a conventional ventilator.
“While many companies across the country are building ventilators, we thought few could assemble and produce the needed devices in under a week when sources indicated the peak local resource usage would occur,” he said.
“Once the successful animal test was completed, IS4S immediately began taking the steps to fabricate the units for eventual distribution.”
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.