UNE’s testing of ventilator prototype featured on NEWS CENTER Maine’s 207

Baxter Academy engineering teacher Jon Amory chats with UNE's Neill Gemmel in the simulation lab
Baxter Academy engineering teacher Jon Amory chats with UNE's Neill Gemmel in the simulation lab

When Baxter Academy’s engineering teacher Jon Amory was looking for a place to test his prototype of a medical ventilator, he turned to UNE and the Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center (ISIC).

When Amory saw the critical shortage of ventilators brought on by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, he started doing research into building one.

"I drew up some schematics, did some calculations, and said ‘this is something that I could produce,’" he said.

Ventilators can cost more than $25,000. Using parts that were easily acquired, Amory and his students built a working prototype for $1,500.

He recently came to UNE’s ISIC to test it with the help of Dawne-Marie Dunbar, MSN/Ed., RN, director of the ISIC, and Neill Gemmel, operations manager and simulation specialist of the ISIC.

The ventilator was hooked up to state-of-the-art simulators.

“A computer program was able to give us feedback on the lung volumes and the lung pressure,” Dunbar explained. “Those are the two things you worry about the most with the ventilator. If the pressures are too high or the volumes are too high, you could cause damage to the patient's lungs.”

Dunbar says the simulators give good feedback on how well a ventilator is working.

"What was very exciting was the data that we got from the patient simulator very much mimicked what we would see if it was on a real ventilator,” Dunbar told NEWS CENTER Maine’s 207.

Amory’s prototype passed its first test. He has been welcomed back to UNE for further testing. Dunbar says Amory can serve as an inspiration for UNE students.

“We want our students to solve hard problems, and this is a hard problem,” she stated. “For me, it connects back to this is the kind of person that we want our students to be when they graduate.”

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Amory and Gemmel check the results of the ventilator test
Amory and Gemmel check the results of the ventilator test

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