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RIT works on prototype for ventilator to help meet shortage concerns

Prototype ventilator developed by RIT
Prototype ventilator developed by RIT

RIT is leading an effort involving local companies and healthcare providers to come up with a prototype ventilator that could help fill shortages to meet the surge of coronavirus cases.

Nabil Nasr is associate provost and founding director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT and he says researchers and others at the university started working on the issue a few weeks ago when they got a request from Congressman Joe Morelle to look into what RIT might be able to develop.

Nasr says the team at RIT has come up with a prototype which is based on the smaller, portable version of a ventilator sometimes used by ambulance crews and in other settings.

“We identified one unit that was simpler, a portable unit, that we thought would fit the purpose. And this unit was much easier to reverse engineer to make modification to it to make it fit for the COVID-19 patient,” Nasr says.

Nasr says this prototype is not meant to replace the more sophisticated hospital ventilators, but it could be used in times of shortages. RIT is working with various manufacturers to see if this new, smaller unit can be produced relatively quickly.

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Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.