Kevin Ward, MD

Current supplemental oxygen systems use portable concentrators, high pressure gas cylinders, or chemical generators – technology largely unchanged since the 1940s. These “state-of-the-art” systems are either expensive, bulky, hazardous, or all three.

Using technology developed at the University of Michigan Department of Emergency Medicine, Rapid Oxygen has developed a low-cost, disposable, and ultra-portable device that uses a safe chemical reaction with no undesirable byproducts. It requires no electricity and can deliver oxygen for up to 20 minutes. It’s ideal for military deployment in remote areas, pandemic preparedness, as well as for survival in airplanes, mines, submarines, or other spaces where current systems are prohibited. If you can think of a location where you might find an automatic emergency defibrillator (AED), Rapid Oxygen wants to be there too.

Led by Richard Imbruce, a pulmonary physiologist with over 30 years of experience in the medical device industry, along with co-inventor and emergency medicine physician and MCIRCC Executive Director, Dr. Kevin Ward, Rapid Oxygen is poised to help us all breathe easier.

Significant Need

Rapid Oxygen is the response to the need for novel treatment solutions for the critically ill and injured in austere environments from combat casualty care to maternal-child health.

Part of this treatment paradigm necessitated development of pulmonary oxygen support in far forward areas where low weight requirements and lack of electrical or battery power limits the use of alternative oxygen delivery systems, like oxygen concentrators and gas cylinders.

Competitive Advantage

Rapid Oxygen was created as a result of research collaborations on emergency transport ventilation delivery systems conducted through a strategic partnership between academia, industry, and the U.S. Department of Defense.


The need for alternative sources of oxygen led to the development of the Rapid Oxygen Company — an LLC organized to become the exclusive manufacturing and distribution vehicle for the newly developed oxygen generation devices.