Team Develops Easy-to-Produce Ventilators for COVID-19 Patients

by | Apr 27, 2020 | Improving Human Health and Community Vibrancy, Inventor Spotlight, Research News

U of A faculty have partnered with the medical community to develop an easy-to-produce ventilator to support COVID-19 patients.

University of Arkansas faculty from across campus have partnered with the medical community to develop an easy-to-produce ventilator to support COVID-19 patients.

Faculty members from the College of Engineering, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing and Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design have been working alongside clinicians at Washington Regional Medical Center to develop a high-quality ventilator that can be manufactured quickly and cheaply.

Robert Saunders and Raj Rao with ventilator

Robert Saunders, left, assistant department head of electrical engineering, and Raj Rao, department head of biomedical engineering, with the AR-Vent.

The device developed at the U of A is known as the AR-Vent. Researchers designed the device with three goals in mind – to create a quality product that will perform the respiration function until the patient no longer needs assistance; to create a device that can be manufactured quickly, using readily-available components; and to produce the device affordably.

AR-Vent automatically pumps existing Artificial Manual Breathing Unit bags, known as Ambu-bags, which are available in hospitals and used by emergency responders to manually squeeze and pump air into a patient’s lungs. The design focuses on a mechanical apparatus that can compress the bag to ventilate the patient. AR-Vent consists of simple electronic hardware, an easy-to-build mechanical fixture and an off-the-shelf automotive windshield wiper motor that powers the mechanical arm.

Once started, the first AR-Vent ventilators can be produced in large volumes within two weeks.

John English, dean of the College of Engineering, praised the group’s innovation.

“This project is about one simple thing – helping people,” he said. “I’m so proud to see this interdisciplinary group come together and leverage their individual expertise for the greater good during this extraordinary time.”

Team members include:

  • Boris Bogomilov, cardiologist and electrophysiologist at Washington Regional Medical Center
  • Angela Carpenter, fabrications lab manager in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
  • Hanna Jensen, clinical assistant professor of biomedical engineering and researcher in the Division of Acute Trauma at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Morten Jensen, associate professor of biomedical engineering, Arkansas Research Alliance Scholar
  • Fang Luo, assistant professor of electrical engineering
  • Lucas Marques, electrical engineering researcher
  • Cara Osborne, assistant professor of nursing
  • Raj Rao, head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and George M. and Boyce W. Billingsley Endowed Chair in Engineering
  • Robert Saunders, associate department head of Electrical Engineering
  • Sam Stephens, biomedical engineering research engineer
  • Zach Williamson, mechanical engineering researcher
  • Wenchao Zhou, assistant professor of mechanical engineering

About The Author

Matt McGowan writes about research in the College of Engineering, Sam M. Walton College of Business, School of Law and other areas. He is the editor of Short Talks From the Hill, a podcast of the University of Arkansas. Reach him at 479-575-4246 or

University Relations Science and Research Team

University Relations Science and Research Team

Matt McGowan
science and research writer

Robert Whitby
science and research writer

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