ApolloBVM - Emergency Use Ventilator
Automated Bag Valve Mask

Rice University

ApolloBVM Files are now accessible OPENLY
No registration needed. 

Overview of ApolloBVM:

The ApolloBVM is an automated bag valve mask (BVM) device utilizing off-the-shelf components to provide safe and continuous hospital-grade mechanical ventilation for COVID-19 patients on an open-source basis.

The ApolloBVM is a controllable, automated add-on solution to the existing and widely available Bag Valve Mask. The device compresses the BVM with a mechanical system that is able to provide consistent and accurate ventilation with positive-pressure. This solution exists within the top range of high-acuity limited-operability (HALO) ventilator solutions with an a priori design to produce volume and pressure cycled ventilation that includes positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and enriched oxygen sources. 

Controls of the ApolloBVM are familiar and clinician-designed with adult, child, and pediatric settings. They allow for tailored ventilation, adjustable I:E ratios, and variable positive pressure.  Please note: This design took inspiration from the 2018-2019 Rice University Senior Design Project from Team Take A Breather.

ApolloBVM Versions 1 and 2 videos below:

Rice News video featuring the Version 0 below :

Advantages of ApolloBVM:

Our solution presents many novel advantages including:

  1. End-to-end clinician-informed design inclusive of all critical engineering touch-points
  2. Control systems that are designed to accommodate ARDS settings with positive pressure
  3. Price target under $250 and components allow for an entirely disposable unit
  4. Hot-swappable parts and power sourcing, with an easily controllable mechanical junction
  5. Fully constructed from DIY components and readily available parts

Current version: Revision 1

The current prototype employs a dual rack-and-pinion mechanical design converting rotational motion of motors into translational motion for bag compression. The device is powered by 120V AC with a < 15W power draw. 

The device accommodates wall or tank-based oxygen through the low-pressure oxygen intake port that is a standard to the BVM.

Current available settings for the device are the following:

  • Tidal Volume (TV): 300 - 650 mL (50 mL increments)
  • Respiratory Rate (RR): 5 - 30 BPM (1 BPM increments)
  • I:E Ratio: 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, 1:5

The user interface consists of an LCD screen that allows the user to set the operating parameters of the device and start compression in less than one minute. During operation, this display also informs the user of the current TV, RR, and I:E.  The user can adjust the settings during usage of the device without shutoff. An emergency shut off button allows for immediate cessation of compression.

Initial tests have shown that the ApolloBVM is capable of delivering physiologically relevant volumes of compression for 24 hours of operation. 

Revision 2 Goals

In our next prototype iteration we intend to tackle the following:

  • Provide ability to control Flow during inspiration, but if fixed: able to deliver 60L/min
  • Pressure Support—a breath triggers either a set pressure or volume of air; and maintains a continuous PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure)

Total Cost of all parts <$300

The total cost of the parts to make the device is expected to be under $250. This number is a significant decrease from the cost of entry-level ventilators with a starting price of $5000. For a DIY device, this price is arrived at assuming that equipment related to assembly are readily available and does not need to be purchased. 

Components and Assembly

ApolloBVM is assembled from readily available, consumer off-the-shelf parts. The majority of components are intended for use as-is and easily ordered through online retailers or hardware stores. Other parts including casing and gears may be 3D printed or laser cut. Our design files include a Bill of Materials for each of the components, ordered, or fabricated. 


The ApolloBVM device cradles and secures the BVM with a design that balances a small footprint with limited play during and between breath cycles. The current version INCLUDING an adult BVM would be approximately, 14” by 16” by 7”.


The goal is for the device to be placed next to the patient on a side table or using a portable bedside table. The device is light-weight so it can be portable. The device currently weighs less than 10lbs.

Time from beginning of setup to first compression cycle

The time from the machine being turned on to delivering the first breath is less than 1 minute.

Design Specifications/Goals (Reported for Revision 1)

 Total cost of device <$250
 Time device can run without human intervention Tested to 24 hours
 Time from beginning of setup to first compression cycle Less that 1 minute
 Size (with adult Ambu bag) Device footprint < 16"x14"x7"
 Weight Device (including bag) weighs < 6lbs
 Power usage <15W

ApolloBVM Design team

Danny Blacker - Lead Designer

Dr. Maria Oden - Faculty Mentor

Dr. Matthew Wettergreen - Faculty Mentor

Thomas Herring - Controls Lead

Amy Kavalewitz - Project Manager

Dr. Rohith Malya - Clinical Lead

Fernando Cruz - Engineering Design Technician

All design work on the ApolloBVM was done at the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University

Inspired by the 2018-2019 senior design project Team Take A Breather


Contact us

Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK

Email: oedk@rice.edu

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