Bobbie Casey is our Engagement Coordinator for the Autodesk Foundation. The Autodesk Foundation believes that design can change the world and supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Bobbie manages our Impact Internship program. The objective of the Impact Internship program is to build technical capacity in organizations supported by the foundation. She connects Autodesk Student Experts with nonprofit organizations and start-ups. Andy Zhang is one of those students.
Through our Impact Internship program, Andy spent the summer working for D-Rev in San Francisco. D-Rev exists to design and deliver medical technologies that close the quality healthcare gap for under-served populations.
Based on Andy's mission statement, it's no surprise that his project at D-Rev involved helping babies with Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). RDS is the result of premature birth that results in the collapse of the baby's alveoli in the lungs. 3.2 million babies are affected each year, and if left untreated, death can occur. The remedy is an advanced form of respiratory therapy via a source of pressurized, heated, humified, blended air. This remedy doubles the survival rate as compared to standard oxygen therapy.
D-Rev's solution is an improved Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that forcefully circulates air throughout the lungs of neonates. Their device decreases the burden on nurses and clinicians, improving outcomes and reducing the need for escalation to aggressive, risky, and expensive therapies such as mechanical ventilation. The device will increase the number of babies that hospitals can treat, be intuitive to understand and use, and accessible to low resource hospitals.
Andy's goals for the device were to make a compact and durable housing and to design an air-oxygen blender to optimize the system's fluid dynamics for a wider range of safe therapies. He used CFD for the fluid dynamic analysis. Then Andy used Fusion 360 and Inventor for the Industrial Design, designing a device that is significantly smaller than other CPAPs. The device includes Velcro sides for easy placement and testing of physical UI elements like buttons, knobs, and displays. [I'd show it to you, but the design is patent pending.]
Andy created a prototype in July, and the team took it directly to India for weeks of feedback from Indian nurses and doctors. He has made significant progress in the development of the prototype in solving existing problems and laid the groundwork for future improvements. Even after Andy returns to school, the prototype and its graphical user interface will continue receiving feedback on the current design and future design consideration through D-Rev's work with clinicians in Indian hospitals.
Successful market entry of the D-Rev device will lead to the treatment of over 350,000 babies with RDS and over 46,000 lives over the first 5 years. Way to go, Andy and D-Rev!
I am proud that the Autodesk Foundation's Impact Internship program helped Andy combine his knowledge of computational fluid dynamics, mechanical design, and product development with his passion for global health in a nonprofit operational structure.
Respiration is alive in the lab.