By: Mike Enright, UConn Communications
Jeffrey McCutcheon, the Al Geib Professor of Environmental Engineering Research and Education at UConn, is usually busy this time of year studying subjects like membrane separations and filtration. But like many, the director of the Fraunhofer USA Center for Energy Innovation, located in the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Tech Park, has seen the focus of his work change with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, McCutcheon is leading a team that is developing a prototype of an emergency ventilator that could be produced by Connecticut manufacturers to help ease the anticipated shortage of the devices as the novel coronavirus continues to spread across the state.
The project started when Ed Wazer, the laboratory director of the Fraunhofer Center, saw a video from a company in Spain that was building ventilators by using a rotating cam to press a level that squeezes an Ambu bag. Ambu bags are used by medical professionals to provide ventilation to those in respiratory distress.
“The original designers, as well as the people from around the world that are partaking in discussion groups related to the project, have been instrumental in getting the project this far,” says Wazer.