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Prototype of the Breathing Project
Photo: Breathing Project

We were part of the Breathing Project since the beginning of the Corona Pandemic and helped to develop a CPAP based ventilator prototype.

CPAP (Continous Positive Airway Pressure) ventilation is a common form of medical therapy when people suffer from sleep related respiratory problems like sleep apnea. Worn at night, these masks keep the patients' respiratory tracts open by inducing a continous overpressure. CPAP units are available in large numbers in common households as well as in hospitals.

We have developed a method to extend a CPAP unit to a convenient non-invasive ventilation system to support a patient's breathing. This will help preventing problems due to a shortage of high-end ventilation systems.

To support a successful ventilation of a patient, different levels of pressure have to be applied during inhalation and exhalation. Our unit will be inserted between the CPAP unit and the air tube and allows tuning the provided continuous CPAP pressure such that alternating levels of pressure are achieved.

Our solution consists of two components:

  1. a small hatch
  2. a microcontroller unit

The hatch is used to tune the pressure at the pressure mask by applying opening and closing sequences. A servodrive is controlled by a microcontroller to control this process. Our team has written the corresponding code to enable a periodic opening-closing sequence and thereby supporting the breathing process as well as possible. Additional parts within our design will ensure that the pressure stays within a certain range. Moreover, connections are planned that allow us to attach a direct oxygen supply.

Most of the components of our solution can be printed with a 3D printer. Additional components, like the microcontroller and the servomotor, can be bought in electronics stores.

A short video of the working principle can be found on YouTube.

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