Design Improvements for the SmithVent Pneumatic Ventilator

SmithVent Team: (clockwise from top left) Mia Delpriora, Sylvie Pryor, Keerthana Akella, Basira Daqiq

2020-2021: This student team pursued design improvements for the SmithVent open-source ventilator design, which had won the international CoVent-19 Challenge in July 2020. The continuation project included liaisons from the CoVent-19 Challenge organizers, Ximedica, and the original SmithVent team of Smith alums, faculty, and staff. The goals of this project were to (1) incorporate an oxygen sensor and enable variable oxygen levels, and (2) replace the manual PEEP (“positive end-expiratory pressure”) valve with a digital mechanism.

The team first defined requirements for both areas based on stakeholder needs and medical standards, and also reviewed existing solutions and technology. For O2, the team selected an oxygen sensor, explored potential locations, and integrated the sensor into the ventilator with a custom fitting. The team also developed, tested, and verified a digital system to measure and control the delivered oxygen concentration. For PEEP, the team selected a voice coil actuator (VCA) mechanism, designed and 3D printed a custom housing, verified the system performance experimentally across a range of PEEP values, and framed the necessary control code. The student team’s design improvements help refine the SmithVent design package, which is accessible for open-source access around the world at