Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Emergency Airway Device

Faculty PI:

Eric Seibel, Ph.D.

Immediate Mentor/Supervisor:

Andrew Lewis

Project or Start-Up Company Name:

Emergency Airway Device

Lab/Project Website:

Work Location:

Fluke Hall and ECE Building, UW Seattle Campus

Work Hours (include recurring team meetings, special events, etc.):

40 hours per week

Overall Program Goal:

Easy to use airway devices could help save lives during emergencies. Our soft, autonomous device uses mechanical intelligence to reliably navigate the airway and seal against the trachea to provide a channel for breaths. Initial work on this project focused on proof-of-concept demonstrations and market research. Further development will evaluate an array of designs to determine promising directions for detailed development. Demonstration of promising ventilation performance with one or more designs will be key to moving the project forward.

Intern Project Description and Responsibilities:

  • Construction – along with the mentor, construct soft robotic devices and attempt to optimize the construction of the devices for repeatable testing.
  • Testing –perform navigation and ventilation experiments with some of the devices.
  • Data analysis – analyze and compare the device designs before iterating on new device design


This is a heavily mechanical project, so the intern should be comfortable with hands-on prototyping and performing experiments using robots. Experience with interdisciplinary robotics topics and skills such as 3D printing, pneumatics, pneumatics, sensors, arduinos and python is preferred, but not necessary.

Level of Independence:

This project is exploring a novel domain of soft robotics, and independence will be a useful trait for exploring potential designs and performing experimental analysis. Advisor and mentor are looking for a highly self-motivated applicant(s) who can quickly demonstrate hour-to-hour self-sufficiency that turns into day-to-day self-sufficiency with the resources available in the BioRobotics Lab and Human Photonics Lab.

Learning Opportunities:

  • Hands-on experience in the intersection of soft robotics and emergency medicine
  • Experiment design and objective analysis of commercial prototypes
  • Academic publication – the designs and data collection from this project will likely lead to academic publication that the intern will be invited to coauthor