Engineering Our Community: Richard Boyer ’07
Whiting School of Engineering graduates at every level are making an impact on the fight against COVID-19. The alumni in this series are examples of engineers at their finest, working to improve and protect their communities with solutions only engineering can provide.
Richard Boyer is completing an anesthesiology residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and will be starting as a Van Poznak Research Scholar and Instructor in Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical College in the fall. He completed an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University in 2007. He completed his MD and PhD training in biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University, and founded a medical device manufacturing company, VoluMetrix, that develops noninvasive critical care monitoring technologies. The Biomedical Engineering Design Team (led by Dr. Art Shoukas and Dr. Bob Allen at that time) played a significant role in providing the foundational and practical knowledge needed in both his clinical and engineering practice.
The CoVent-19 Challenge is a 12-week open innovation challenge to design a rapidly deployable, minimum viable ventilator for COVID-19. The challenge was hosted by residents in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and founded by Richard Boyer, a medical device engineer and anesthesiology resident. Dr. Boyer was inspired to help with the ventilator shortage while he was on quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 in the operating room.
More than 200 ventilator designs from 43 countries were submitted in the first round, which required submission of comprehensive CAD designs and manufacturing plans. The three winning teams were announced on July 1, and included SmithVent (1st place) designed by a team from Smith College, VOX (2nd place) designed by the world renowned design firm Fuseproject, and RespiraWorks which was designed by a team of rocket engineers from SpaceX and Google engineers.
CoVent-19 Challenge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and is continuing the development and production of the winning ventilator for use in global emerging markets, where there is still a critically short supply of equipment for mechanical ventilation. Following deployment of these ventilators, the organization hopes to continue to develop low cost ICU medical devices to fill critical device supply gaps.