Illinois RapidVent


Illinois RapidVent

Working prototype of an emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Find out about our collaboration with Belkin


University of Illinois Researchers Publish Article
Describing Illinois RapidVent Emergency Ventilator

The design, testing, and validation of the Illinois RapidVent emergency ventilator has been published in the journal Plos One. The article, “Emergency Ventilator for COVID-19,” by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers, is the first of its kind to report such details about an emergency ventilator that was designed, prototyped, and tested at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Read the PLOS ONE article



The COVID-19 pandemic made clear the importance of emergency ventilator support—and that surges of people in respiratory distress or cases in areas where conventional, full-featured ventilators are unavailable can create a critical need for that support. On March 16, 2020, a team of more than 40 engineers, doctors, medical professionals, designers, and manufacturing experts from industry launched an Apollo 13-style project to help address that need.

The team focused on designing a device that could help the sickest patients to breathe, by plugging into the oxygen source available in most hospital rooms or into a tank of oxygen. Less than one week later, the team demonstrated a working prototype. Illinois RapidVent prototypes have run for more than 1.5 million breathing cycles, and the design had been licensed by more than 60 external organizations.

On May 12, 2020, Belkin announced that it was collaborating with The Grainger College of Engineering to produce an emergency ventilator based on the Illinois RapidVent concept, pending review and approval of the company’s Emergency Use Authorization application by the Food and Drug Administration.

RapidVent testing

View First Working Prototype In Action

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"This is Apollo 13...

We have a team of brilliant and dedicated people that made something that actually works in less than one week. It’s very inspiring. We hope that we can engage even more people to work on the global response to COVID-19 as we continue to develop the prototype.”

William King, professor in The Grainger College of Engineering and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Screen capture of team collaborating via conference call


Illustration of Illinois RapidVent on model and connected to wall

Illinois Grainger College of Engineering


TEKMILL Success by Design

Siebel Center for Design

cts: Creative Thermal Solutions, Inc.


The University of Illinois is publishing the accompanying preliminary results of research (“content”) from faculty and employees of the University of Illinois (individually “Author” or collectively “Authors”). This publication only applies to the content provided here and does not apply to any other information, products, publications, or services of the Authors.

The content is being released in this manner to maximize the potential public benefit during this urgent need for measures to respond to the SARS-CoV-2 (formerly CoVID-19) crisis, including promoting potential manufacturing pathways in light of the shortage of ventilators.

The content has not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Interested readers are encouraged to contact the FDA and review available FDA materials, such as the following guidance on ventilators:

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