Students aim to save premature babies in third world countries

By WEEK Producer

April 24, 2014 Updated Apr 24, 2014 at 7:42 PM CDT

A group of Brigham Young University engineering students may soon save a million premature babies from dying each year.

The students developed the idea after finding out parents in third-world countries use hand pumps to keep their struggling babies alive.

The students wanted to change that.

They engineered a new kind of neonatal ventilator. Every time the device's dial ticks, a baby struggling for oxygen gets a breath.

There are only a few more steps before the ventilators can be distributed.

"We're not aiming to use this in the United States, so we don't have to get it to pass through the FDA, but we do need to do some animal testing,” said group leader Spencer Ferguson.

Once the testing is finished, students say they will ship the ventilators to the Philippines and parts of Africa within a matter of months.

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