Ventilator Development using the ASL 5000 Breathing Simulator

Maximilian Tang, Undergraduate Researcher, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology – Poon Lab


Max Tang

I am a researcher working under Dr. Chi-Sang Poon at Harvard-MIT’s Health Sciences and Technology Division. Working in tandem with Dr. Robert Kacmarek at Massachusetts General Hospital, we are currently developing an entrainment-based ICU ventilator funded by an NIH grant. Our ventilator attempts to dynamically adjust its own baseline frequency to the patient’s breathing rate.

ASL 5000 Breathing Simulator has been invaluable over the past years working on this project. In order to develop suitable tests, we needed an environment that would allow varying breath rates to be maintained by a test lung connected to our ventilator. We ended up cycling through a series of scripts each containing different breath rate values to simulate a patient changing breathing rates over the course of time. We could not have accomplished this without the ASL 5000’s multiple script running feature.

Test Runs

At our request, the IngMar Medical Support team also added a new “backing off” feature to their software to help us conduct our research. This feature allows the ASL 5000 to “back off” and reset its rhythm if an exogenous breath is detected.

We further created a multitude of files with various breathing parameters changed to ensure that the ventilator could handle a wide spectrum of patients. A physician with Massachusetts General Hospital worked with us to develop the test cases involving different compliances, resistances, lung models, etc. to ensure that the ventilator could manage a broad variety of patients. To introduce variation mid-cycle, the Interactive Control Panel feature allowed us to additionally test the reaction to sudden unscripted changes. The ASL 5000’s software has made this entire process significantly easier.