The Illinois RapidVent team led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Health has cleared one of its largest hurdles – finding a company who will produce the emergency ventilator. The University of Illinois has made the design available as a free license, but Belkin, a maker of cellphone accessories, is the first to manufacture the Illinois RapidVent out of the 50+ companies who have become licensees. Belkin is currently awaiting emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. William King, Professor and Ralph A. Anderson Endowed Chair in the Grainger College of Engineering, said that, “Carle was planning for a worst-case scenario, where there would be hundreds, or even thousands, of patients in our community that needed a ventilator and one would not be available to them.” Fortunately, this worst-case scenario has not occurred, but the persistence of COVID-19 and the potential for the virus to surge in the summer and fall make this emergency ventilator valuable to have at the ready.
Belkin is owned by Foxconn Interconnect Technologies (FIT), a subsidiary of the electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group. In addition to the company’s $50 million gift to build the Networked Intelligent Components and Environments (C-NICE) center for smart, reconfigurable technology, the company already has an office located within the University of Illinois Research Park. Sidney Lu, the CEO of FIT, is a University of Illinois alum and a major donor to the university.
Partners in the Illinois RapidVent project include faculty and researchers from across the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, its Grainger College of Engineering, its Siebel Center for Design, its Applied Research Institute, Carle Health, TEKMILL, and Creative Thermal Solutions, Inc. TEKMILL, the Applied Research Institute, and Carle Health all have facilities in the Research Park.
Read more about Illinois RapidVent’s manufacturing agreement in the Chicago Tribune.