News, stories and opinions for the business innovators of the world.

NASA’s JPL selects Planet Innovation to manufacture ventilator in Australia

Roger LangsdonMarketing Director

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected Planet Innovation as the only Australian manufacturer of a new ventilator tailored for COVID-19 patients. PI is among 13 international companies and eight U.S. manufacturers selected from more than 300 applications globally.

The prototype, which was created by JPL engineers in just 37 days, received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on April 30.

Called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), the high-pressure ventilator was designed to use one-seventh of the parts of a traditional ventilator, relying on parts already available in supply chains. It offers a simpler, more affordable option for treating critical patients while freeing up traditional ventilators for those with the most severe COVID-19 symptoms. Its flexible design means it also can be modified for use in field hospitals.


The Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, which owns the patents and software for VITAL and manages JPL for NASA, offered the license for the device free to selected companies. Planet Innovation was the only Australian company selected, with 331 companies in total expressing interest in licensing the device.

Planet Innovation co-CEO Stuart Elliott said: “PI has a global reputation for being able to rapidly scale the manufacturing of regulated devices and complex instruments, and when the opportunity to partner with NASA’s JPL came to us via the CSIRO and the Victorian Government, we jumped at it. PI is all about taking great tech and building products and businesses that have a positive impact on the world. Nothing could be more aligned to our values than working with Caltech and the team at JPL in manufacturing these devices.”

VITAL was developed with input from doctors and medical device manufacturers. A prototype of the JPL device was successfully tested by the Human Simulation Lab in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai on April 23.

Roger Langsdon Marketing Director
Roger Langsdon

Roger is the Marketing Director at Planet Innovation and a specialist marketing and communications professional with a focus on growing an organization’s reputation and revenue through strategic marketing and high-impact communications.

Roger Langsdon

Sign up for the Perspectives newsletter:

A roundup of the latest news and opinions from PI.

Related Articles.

FebriDx Patient Trial Pilot

Stuart Elliott speaks on ABC Radio about manufacturing supply chain resilience


Planet Innovation co-CEO and co-founder Stuart Elliott described the COVID-19 pandemic as a “wake-up call” for how medical products are sourced, in an interview with ABC Radio.

FebriDx Patient Trial Pilot

Three questions to ask before you sign a manufacturing contract


When it comes to choosing a manufacturer for your new product, there are a host of companies lining up to take your money. But with so many choices, how can you get this critical decision right?

FebriDx Patient Trial Pilot

PI to manufacture Scinogy’s new cell processing system for cell therapy manufacture


Planet Innovation is partnering with Melbourne-based start-up Scinogy to manufacture a revolutionary new cell processing system that is being commercialized by global biotechnology company Thermo Fisher Scientific.

FebriDx Patient Trial Pilot

PI and Lumos work with Victorian Government to pilot FebriDx as acute respiratory infection patient triage tool in response to COVID-19 pandemic


We are seeking GPs and other healthcare professionals in Victoria, Australia to pilot a new TGA-approved point-of-care test to help differentiate patients with viral from bacterial acute respiratory tract infections.