Take a Breather

Attachment to Automate the Bag Valve Mask in Low Resource Settings


Member profile details

Membership level
2018-2019 Team
Project Thumbnail Image
Team Name
Take a Breather
Project Title
Attachment to Automate the Bag Valve Mask in Low Resource Settings
Design Challenge
Bag valve masks (BVM) are frequently used to provide a useful, simplified way to ventilate an individual in Global Health settings. However, in low resource settings when there is 1 nurse for every 50 patients, family members are often the ones bagging their loved ones in life or death situations. As these individuals are not medially trained personnel, they are inaccurate and inefficient at bagging, and can only last a limited amount of time before becoming tired. These problems can be addressed if a device could be created that would automate the compression cycles of the BVM. Our overall goal is the creation of a hands-free, reliable, and long-lasting attachment to fit onto the standard bag valve mask and automate compression and air supply to allow a BVM to ventilate an individual without human oversight.
Design Summary
We have developed a rack and pinion compression mechanism in order to automate the bag valve mask. The rack and pinion translates rotational motion of the motor to linear compression. Compression arms use triangle pressing plates that move along rails for the best stability and power. In order to attach the BVM to the device, adjustable holders for the front and back are utilized, allowing the device to be adaptable for all bag vale masks. The entire design is encased in an acrylic box to prevent dust and other particles from entering. In order then attach the bag to the patient, a 5 foot tubing with an expiratory valve is used. The tubing allows the device to be place anywhere within a 5 foot radius of the patient, while the expiratory valve eliminates dead space in this extra tubing.

For the electronic control of our system, we utilize a Picaxe 20X2 microcontroller. The Picaxe microcontroller is able to take information from a user input and translate that into the motion of the servo motor which controls the compression. The user interface includes three buttons and six LEDs which an individual can use to control the patient size (infant, child, or adult) and speed of compression (10, 20, or 30 breaths per minute). The motor is a continuous rotation metal gear servo which allows for the speed and power necessary for compression. Within the device we also use limit switches to detect the position of the motor, as it does not contain feedback.

In the current state, our device is able to reach 535mL of tidal volume, which is over the target value of 500mL for adults. It is also able to pump at the desired frequencies of 10, 20, and 30 breaths per minute within 10% accuracy. Finally, our device can run for over 11 hours without human intervention.

Last Updated 04/29/19
Date Updated
Monday, April 29, 2019
Carolyn and Harrell Huff
  • Bioengineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisor 1 - Name
Sabia Abidi
Faculty Advisor 1 - Department
  • BIOE
Client First Name
Client Last Name
Client Company/Organization
Baylor College of Medicine

Team Members

Award(s) and Recognition
Best Interdisciplinary Team (Rice Engineering Showcase)
Willy Revolution Award (Rice Engineering Showcase)

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