A team of engineers from MIT are developing a ventilator solution that will aid people with compromised diaphragm function.

A new proof-of-concept design by MIT engineers aims to one day boost the diaphragm’s life-sustaining function and improve lung capacity for people with diaphragm dysfunction.

The MIT team has developed a soft, robotic, and implantable ventilator that is designed to augment the diaphragm’s natural contractions. At the heart of the system are two soft, balloon-like tubes that can be implanted to lie over the diaphragm. When inflated with an external pump, the tubes act as artificial muscles to push down on the diaphragm and help the lungs expand. The tubes can be inflated at a frequency to match the diaphragm’s natural rhythm.

The researchers demonstrated the implantable ventilator in animal models, and showed that in cases of compromised diaphragm function, the system was able to significantly improve the amount of air that the lungs could draw in.

Read the full article at MIT News.