BYU students building device that could save thousands of lives worldwide

Posted at 9:57 PM, Apr 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-26 23:57:33-04

PROVO, Utah – Engineering students at Brigham Young University are working to help premature newborns in developing countries.

The students are working on a portable ventilator that has the potential to save thousands of lives.

Gabriel Munson is a senior at BYU studying mechanical engineering, and he said the project is aimed at solving a big problem.

“Every day, there are babies dying because they can’t breathe,” Munson said.

The device helps newborns who are struggling to breath on their own. Some parents have to use a hand-pumped ventilator 24 hours a day for 30 days to keep their child alive, but the new portable ventilator will address that issue.

“We were looking to make one that would be low price, be durable, and one that we could send off to third world countries that they could use in their hospitals,” said Jordan Peterson, a BYU senior studying mechanical engineering.

The project began about two years ago.

“The original team that worked on this project was called Neo Vent, and they did excellent work to lay the foundation and ground work allowing us to refine the product and develop the ventilator that we have today,” said Daniel Jankowski, a BYU senior studying mechanical engineering.

This year’s team, Neo Life, created a prototype that’s durable and ready for testing. The ventilators will be sent around the world once they are produced and the project funded.

The students said they are proud to work on such an important project.

“When we turned on the ventilator and it was working the way it’s supposed to, it was an incredible feeling realizing that we've actually created a product that could save potentially hundreds of thousands of lives,” Peterson said.

The project is a humanitarian effort and not for profit.