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Portable and automated mechanical ventilator with renewable energy source for harsh or remote environments

Medical Devices
Ventilators/Ventilator Parts
OSU Wexner Medical Center
Vazquez, Daniel
Haney, Amanda
Skidmore, Jeffrey
Licensing Manager
Zinn, Ryan

T2019-349 A mechanical ventilation device which incorporates a hand-crank to enable automated breathing assistance without the need for electrical outlets or external generators.

The Need

Mechanical ventilators have been developed to provide automated, life-sustaining assistance to individuals with difficulty breathing due to either injury or chronic illness. Current ventilator systems, however, are expensive, require constant medical supervision and require reliable electrical power which are not viable solutions for disaster response and the developing world. The need for a solution to these limitations was dramatically highlighted in 2017 when patients died in Puerto Rico due to loss of power to their mechanical ventilators during Hurricane Maria. Transportation requirements for some patients also reveal deficiencies in current ventilation practices. For instance, soldiers are often transported to German medical centers via the US Air Force Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT). This process can take 24-30 hours and CCATT is limited in the amount of space and human resources that can be devoted to ventilation alone. There is, therefore, a need for a portable and automated ventilation device which can be used in military, disaster, and other scenarios characterized by limited resources.

The Technology

To address this need, researchers at The Ohio State University are working to develop a mechanical ventilation device which is powered by sustainable energy sources and designed with key considerations of automation and portability. A main innovation of the patent pending design is the use of an integrated hand-crank energy source which enables the user to provide power to a rechargeable battery. This innovation is important for achieving the innovators’ goal of creating a stand-alone system which does not rely on external energy sources. Moreover, the rechargeable battery enables continuous operation of the device for over 30 minutes without user intervention which facilitates sustainable operation and portability in austere environments. Finally, the hand-crank is easy and intuitive to operate, which are keys for sustainability and ease of operation.

The hand-crank provides the rotational mechanical energy required to rotate the shaft of an alternator. The alternator generates the electrical power required to power the air compressor, as well as charge a rechargeable battery. Delivery of the compressed air to the patient is tunable via the user interface and regulated by a microcontroller and solenoid valve in order to ensure proper maintenance of parameters such as Peek Inspiratory Pressure (PIP), Positive End Expiratory Pressure (PEEP), and Respirator Rate (RR). This design results in a mechanical ventilator which is compact and does not require electrical outlets for operation, therefore, making it a beneficial choice for use in austere environments or as a low-cost oxygen alternative for COPD patient home or mobile use.

Commercial Applications

  • Automated breathing assistance in combat and disaster zones
  • Mechanical ventilation during patient transport
  • COPD patient home and mobile oxygen therapy
  • Humanitarian relief for low-income areas


  • Sustainability
  • Portability
  • Ease of construction
  • Ease of operation
  • Affordability

Research Interests

Dr. Daniel Vazquez received his undergraduate degree (B.A., Engineering) and Medical Degree (M.D.) from Brown University. He also received a Master of Science in Space Studies from the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Dr. Vazquez is a Critical Care Surgeon, Board Certified in General Surgery and Surgery Critical Care, and the Medical Director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Vazquez also serves as Executive Director of The Center for Research, Education and Advancement of Transdisciplinary Exploration (CREATE), the Associate Director of Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, and is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at The Ohio State University. Dr. Vazquez has substantial experience in clinical research and has made significant contributions to science.