Stewart & Stevenson partners with Rice to make lifesaving device.

Houston-based manufacturer Stewart & Stevenson LLC have signed a licensing agreement with Rice to produce an advanced version of the ApolloBVM ventilator, first prototyped by engineers and students at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK). The design was based on an original concept by the “Take a Breather” team of senior engineering students in 2019. Both teams were advised by Rohith Malya, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, an adjunct assistant professor of bioengineering at Rice and associate of the Rice 360° Institute for Global Health.

The enhanced design has been made available as a set of open-source plans. More than 2,300 people from 105 countries have registered to download them. Three Rice-produced videos about the project have logged more than half a million views.

“I am thrilled that the hard work by the OEDK team, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in this agreement with Stewart & Stevenson,” said OEDK Director Maria Oden, also a teaching professor of bioengineering and co-director of Rice 360˚. “They have the ability to produce the ApolloBVM at scale, providing emergency ventilation needs during this crisis and beyond.”

The ApolloBVM is intended to be an emergency option that health care professionals can use to help patients breathe when full ventilators are not available. The programmable device is designed to operate a common bag valve mask for extended periods while patients await the availability of a standard ventilator.

“This agreement combines the strengths of S&S’s engineering, high-volume manufacturing and global distribution capabilities with the outstanding work by the ventilator development team at Rice’s OEDK,” said Joe Reniers, president of Kirby Distribution and Services, of which Stewart & Stevenson is a subsidiary.

Stewart & Stevenson, founded in 1902, is focused on manufacturing, power generation, rental solutions and aftermarket support for global oil and gas, marine, construction, transportation, government, mining, health care and agricultural markets. The company serves customers worldwide from 43 U.S. and international locations.