Michael Wehner

2020 Hellman Fellow


Assistant Professor; Electrical and Computer Engineering
UC Santa Cruz

Project Title: Low cost automation for Endotracheal Intubation

Project Description: Every year, fifty million endotracheal intubation procedures are performed on hospital patients and accident victims to establish an airway or control breathing. During the golden hour (now often called the golden minute or golden three minutes) after a traumatic injury, lifesaving measures are critical and often a fully trained medical staff is unavailable. The current Covid-19 crisis has further emphasized the importance of intubation and ventilation.  At the UC Santa Cruz Machine Interaction lab, we have the opportunity to develop a very low-cost device to automate the intubation process. Our goal is to remove the human factor in intubation and design a very low cost, fully autonomous intubation system. We have been working with a team from UC Berkeley and Ohio State University to design a pneumatic soft-robotic based system into a low-cost endotracheal intubation device for field and hospital ventilation. Funding from the Hellman Fellows Program will allow a graduate student to fabricate a prototype device based on the conceptual design developed by the engineering teams at UCSC and Berkeley, and endorsed by the medical team at Ohio State.