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A Breath of Innovation

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wei HanMechanical engineering doctoral student Wei Han’s expertise in industrial design, prototyping, and manufacturing has proved to be a perfect fit for the research of Brian Dennis. The mechanical engineering associate professor sought out Han to help him make a smaller blood oxygenating machine.

The device, currently suitcase-sized, helps keep people with respiratory problems alive. Dr. Dennis wants something affordable and portable.

Han says the research is fascinating, especially since it combines mechanical engineering with nanofabrication.

“We want to make this device much smaller,” she says. “One prototype is about 50 microns, which can’t even be seen by the human eye. We hope it will eventually bypass the human lung.”

The instrument would be connected to a blood vessel, steadily providing a patient’s blood with new oxygen while disposing of carbon dioxide.

“The research is a bit of a change of directions for me,” Han says. “But it’s something I’ve found fascinating. UT Arlington has prepared me for the project.”