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Case Study

Saving Lives with Accelerated Development of Mechanical Ventilators

2-minute read
Saving Lives with Accelerated Development of Mechanical Ventilators


As the COVID-19 virus started to spread worldwide, it created an urgent need for ventilators, especially in underprivileged countries. To save lives, these countries needed to obtain this equipment quickly and economically.



Acting under the FDAā€™s Emergency Use Authorization, and with funding from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team, Boston Engineering collaborated with Worcester Polytechnic Institute to design and build an open-source mechanical ventilator using readily available components.



Recognizing the urgency of the moment and the need, Boston Engineering and WPI worked together to:

  • Develop open-source software and electrical circuitry, plus power, mechanics, and specifications through an accelerated phase-gate process, cutting typical development time from 8+ months to 4 months.
  • Deliver 30 working mechanical ventilators and components for 75 additional units to over 20 sites in Sub-Saharan Africa, for engineering studentsā€™ and usersā€™ study, assembly, and education.
  • Provide ventilator training sessions and demonstrations on sub-assembly kits

This project embodies the very best of Boston Engineeringā€™s strengths and partnershipsā€”collaborative teams designing, developing, engineering, educating, and ultimately saving lives.

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