Resident Engineers Ventilator

Resident Engineers Ventilator

Sun Staff Reports

Alameda resident Dr. Jack Kotovsky is an engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the leader of the Micro and Nano-Technology Section. His research has included the creation of mechanical, optical and electronic devices for rehabilitative, orthopedic and brain-injury treatment. His most-recent research includes a novel ventilator to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kotovsky will be presenting his work this coming Saturday, Feb. 13, and continuing on Saturdays during February from 10 to 11 a.m. This free program is geared for high school students by LLNL. The program is normally in person in Livermore but this year is virtual and all are welcome.

At the start of the pandemic when Kotovsky sheltered at home, he began designing a ventilator in his living room on Santa Clara Avenue. Within a few days he had recruited a team of colleagues and had components in test. Kotovsky secured funding from the Department of Energy and built the team to 23 people within a week and delivered the fully functional ventilator to the FDA for approval in 5 weeks.

The ventilator was approved for use several weeks later and is being distributed by a North Carolinian company that will manufacture and distribute the ventilator. LLNL is presenting Covid-19 response work Saturdays in February.

As news of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic sent the Bay Area and the nation into shelter-in-place orders in March, engineers at LLNL stepped up to utilize the problem-solving skills normally exercised in their day-to-day jobs to assist in the pandemic response. Upon hearing about the potentially catastrophic shortfall of ventilators as well as the difficulty in quickly ramping up production of these ventilators, a team of engineers and scientists at LLNL formed to design and build a functional and safe ventilator from components sourced outside the medical device supply chain. In fewer than three months, LLNL and industry collaborators designed, built, and tested a venti-lator that was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In this talk, Kotovsky and additional LLNL staff will describe and demonstrate how the ventilator works and its application in COVID19 patients. They will also detail how the engineering design process guided the design of the ventilator. The talk will also discuss LLNL’s efforts to provide 3D printed testing supplies nationally. Learn more at