A team of Pakistani students has won the first prize at the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize for introducing an effective but cheap ventilator that is the cost of a modern-day ventilator.
The winning team is called Umbulizer and consists of Boston University graduate Shaheer Piracha; Harvard Medical School student, Sanchay Gupta; MIT alumni, Moiz Imam ’18 and Abdurrahman Akkas ’18; MIT mechanical engineering student, Wasay answer; Boston University student Rohan Jadeja; and Farzan Khan, who recently graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi.
The ventilator is said to cost around $2,000 (Rs280,000) compared to a regular ventilator that usually costs about $15,000 (Rs2 million). This was made possible by downgrading the physical appearance and some unneeded expensive functionality.
The ventilator provides the four fundamental functionalities instead of the fifteen functions in standard ventilators which are rarely used. Furthermore, the ventilator proposed by the team was also different in looks compared to a normal ventilator and looked like a desktop printer as opposed to the conventional bedside ventilator.
Moreover, the $2000 dollar ventilator is capable of running on batteries which adds to its mobility and goes well with its size. It is reported that the team plans to take their invention to Pakistan which is in dire need of such cheap but effective equipment.
“When we spoke to Pakistani doctors and hospital administrators, they expressed a need for a device that is simple to operate, capable of remote monitoring, portable, and built using locally sourced material. All of those considerations have informed our [first iteration of this machine]. Our device’s competitive advantage lies in the fact that we’ve balanced the accuracy and consistency of a traditional ventilator with the portability and affordability of an Ambu Bag.” Said Shaheer Piracha, speaking at the event.