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Making mechanical ventilators smarter through data-driven algorithms

Thursday, 3 February 2022
New research by Joey Reinders can help both patients and ICU nurses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For patients unable to breathe well enough unaided, artificial respiration provided by a ventilator can be life-saving. Mechanical engineer Joey Reinders developed self-learning algorithms that enable the ventilator to deliver exactly the right air pressure and adapt to the patient. He succesfully defended his doctoral research at the department of Mechanical Engineering on Wednesday 2d February at the TU Eindhoven.

As the corona pandemic breaks out, his colleagues at the engineering firm Demcon commit to taking a new ventilator from the drawing board to the hospital bed within a month, whereas doctoral candidate Joey Reinders is already working on new developments for the next generation of mechanical ventilation. In a combination project between TU/e and Demcon, he is researching how a respiratory device can adapt to a patient. Although he gets underway well before the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic inevitably casts his research on mechanical ventilation in a new light.

When a patient is ventilated, respiratory equipment ventilates the lungs, bringing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide. Many patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are on artificial respiration. At the start of his doctoral research, Reinders spent a couple of days shadowing staff in Erasmus MC, in the ICU run by Diederik Gommers - now well-known as a member of the national Outbreak Management Team - and his motivation to develop better mechanical ventilation only grew.