Children born with underdeveloped lungs or severe respiratory distress are often treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy using pretty expensive equipment that is simply not available in many parts of the world. CPAP machines tend to be actuated with mechanical pumps that can be computer controlled with high precision, but that comes at a cost. Bubble CPAP, an alternative version of the technology that relies on cheap traditional pumps and a tank of water, has been turned by engineering students at Rice University into a real product and taken to Malawi for study.
Two aquarium pumps provide the air pressure to the system, while the level of water in a bottle through which the air is pumped through acts like control for how much pressure to deliver to the patient. Here’s a Rice video report on the field testing of the CPAP bubbler and below is a link to the full study in PLOS ONE: