Areas of Expertise (6)
Dr. Nataraj is the Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Moritz, Sr. Endowed Chair position in Engineered Systems, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Villanova Center for Analytics of Dynamic Systems (VCADS) at Villanova College of Engineering. Unmanned vehicles and robotics is Dr. Nataraj's primary area of specialty. Dr. Nataraj serves as faculty adviser for the College of Engineering' s student team to compete in RobotX, an annual, selective international competition on autonomous surface vehicles, organized by the Office of Naval Research and the Association of Unmanned Vehicles International to foster and stimulate research in marine autonomy. Nataraj has received several grants from the Office of Naval Research to investigate the feasibility of developing and testing unmanned ocean vehicles.
Knowledgeable about prognostics, an engineering discipline that predicts the future condition of a component or system, he would be a good source for information on machinery maintenance and failure, as well as cutting-edge diagnostic healthcare systems.
Arizona State University: PhD
Arizona State University: MS
Indian Institute of Technology: BS
Select Accomplishments (3)
Villanova University Outstanding Faculty Research Award (professional)
Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Moritz, Sr. Endowed Chair in Systems Engineering (professional)
Dr. C. Nataraj Appointed to the Editorial Boards of Two Scholarly Journals (professional)
2012 In recognition of his expertise and accomplishments in a number of key research areas, two prominent scholarly journals invited Dr. C. Nataraj, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, to join their editorial boards in December. As a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems and the Journal of Applied Nonlinear Dynamics, he joins dozens of highly-esteemed researchers from around the world.
- Elected Member of the Franklin Institute's Committee of the Sciences and the Arts
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Turbo Research Foundation
Select Media Appearances (10)
Negative-Pressure Ventilator Shows Promise in New Study
Reuters Health online
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A negative-pressure ventilator designed to support patients with respiratory failure from COVID-19 and other lung diseases was comfortable and allowed good nursing and monitoring access in a small study in healthy volunteers. While positive-pressure devices use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to increase functional reserve capacity, negative-pressure devices such as the Exovent simulate natural lung movements and do not require tracheal intubation. "There are a number of medical reasons why use of negative pressure is beneficial, above and beyond the obvious benefit that the patient does not need to be anesthetized," Dr. Malcolm Coulthard of Newcastle University, UK, told Reuters Health by email. "As it supports a more natural breathing process, the risk of damage to the lungs is reduced and the way that it lifts the chest takes pressure off the heart, allowing the heart to function more effectively." "While we believe this treatment could benefit many patients," he said, "it could be particularly important for those that are unable to tolerate positive-pressure non-invasive techniques such as CPAP."
Inside the Race to Build a Better $500 Emergency Ventilator
Kaiser Health News online
As the coronavirus crisis lit up this spring, headlines about how the U.S. could innovate its way out of a pending ventilator shortage landed almost as hard and fast as the pandemic itself. The New Yorker featured “The MacGyvers Taking on the Ventilator Shortage,” an effort initiated not by a doctor or engineer but a blockchain activist. The University of Minnesota created a cheap ventilator called the Coventor; MIT had the MIT Emergency Ventilator; Rice University, the ApolloBVM. NASA created the VITAL, and a fitness monitor company got in the game with Fitbit Flow. The price tags varied from $150 for the Coventor to $10,000 for the Fitbit Flow — all significantly less than premium commercially available hospital ventilators, which can run $50,000 apiece. Around the same time, C. Nataraj, a Villanova College of Engineering professor, was hearing from front-line doctors at Philadelphia hospitals fearful of running out of ventilators for COVID-19 patients. Compelled to help, Nataraj put together a volunteer SWAT team of engineering and medical talent to invent the ideal emergency ventilator. The goal: build something that could operate with at least 80% of the function of a typical hospital ventilator, but at 20% or less of the cost.
This Team Made a $500 Ventilator—but How Will It Be Used?
As the coronavirus crisis lit up this spring, headlines about how the US could innovate its way out of a pending ventilator shortage landed almost as hard and fast as the pandemic itself. The New Yorker featured “The MacGyvers Taking on the Ventilator Shortage,” about an effort initiated not by a doctor or engineer but a blockchain activist. The University of Minnesota created a cheap ventilator called the Coventor; MIT had the MIT Emergency Ventilator; Rice University, the ApolloBVM. NASA created the Vital, and a fitness monitor company got in the game with Fitbit Flow. The price tags varied from $150 for the Coventor to $10,000 for the Fitbit Flow—all significantly less than premium commercially available hospital ventilators, which can run $50,000 apiece. Around the same time, C. Nataraj, a Villanova College of Engineering professor, was hearing from frontline doctors at Philadelphia hospitals fearful of running out of ventilators for Covid-19 patients. Compelled to help, Nataraj put together a volunteer SWAT team of engineering and medical talent to invent the ideal emergency ventilator. The goal: Build something that could operate with at least 80 percent of the function of a typical hospital ventilator, but at 20 percent or less of the cost.
As Coronavirus Spreads Globally, These Researchers Are Designing Ventilators That Cost Less Than $1,000
In the beginning of April, Dr. C. Nataraj, an engineering professor at Villanova University, gathered a team of 20 faculty and students, as well as experts from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Geisinger Health System. Their goal? To create a low-cost, emergency ventilator. Within three weeks, they made their first prototype of the NovaVent, a machine that automatically compresses an airbag (called an Ambu bag) and links to a ventilator circuit that includes a component for intubation. Nataraj and his team are partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to get the ventilator manufactured by local idle businesses for a price under $1,000. “A lot of medical devices are out of reach for most of the world,” says Nataraj about the importance of low-cost ventilators, “and I think a lot of people like us need to step up and do something about it.” Nataraj, 60, and his colleagues are among several teams across the country at universities such as Georgia Tech, UC Davis and the University of Minnesota that are scrambling to design low-cost ventilators for the coronavirus pandemic. These machines include renovated ventilators from the 1950s, self-pumping bag masks and a device that can supply air to two patients at once. While some of these devices will stay in the U.S., many are designed to be easily manufactured overseas in countries that may need them more. ...
PA’s hospitals, universities, and companies fight COVID-19
Keystone Edge online
Pennsylvania’s world-renowned life sciences sector is leading the charge in the fight against COVID-19. According to Christopher P. Molineaux, president and CEO of Life Sciences Pennsylvania, many of the association’s 850 member organizations are working tirelessly and expeditiously to curb the coronavirus. “Our life sciences community is working collaboratively – with one another, as well as with the state and federal governments – to address this significant public health concern on several fronts,” he says. “[That includes] developing diagnostic tests, vaccines and therapeutics; repurposing manufacturing facilities to produce needed supplies; creating innovative solutions to deal with product and supply shortages; contributing surplus supplies to help fill shortages in hospitals and healthcare systems; and volunteering medical expertise and time to help our overstretched healthcare providers.”
CHOP spinoff, Villanova professor share the same goal: Produce a low-cost ventilator
Philadelphia Business Journal online
Two initiatives, one by a startup medical device company in the Philadelphia suburbs and the other being led by a local university professor, are aiming to address the shortage of ventilators now in high demand by COVID-19 patients. ... Creating a similar product is also the goal of a team from Villanova University that is led by College of Engineering Professor C. Nataraj. Nataraj said conversations he had with several physician friends who talked about the need for ventilators is what spurred him to lead the project. The conversations include one who talked about signing death certificates for COVID-19 patients who may have otherwise been helped had more ventilators been available. "I figured some big company will come in and start making them but one of the doctors I was talking to said don't count on that," he said. The Villanova team Nataraj assembled for the project — dubbed NovaVent — includes other engineering faculty members, along with graduate students from the university's engineering and nursing schools. They are working with medical experts from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Geisinger Health system, as well as industry professionals, to design, develop, test and validate a low-cost ventilator. Their goal is to produce in large quantities a ventilator for less than $500 in part and under $1,000 per unit fully assembled and shipped. "My sense is we are a couple of days way from having a full prototype that we are happy with in terms of the lab testing," Nataraj said. Later this week, he said, the group will test their device on an artificial lung machine at CHOP.
Villanova teams up with Philadelphia-area hospitals to build low-cost emergency ventilators
KYW Newsradio 1060 radio
Villanova University is teaming up with Children’s Hospital and Geisinger Medical Center to create design plans for low-cost ventilators, and testing and validation could be done by the end of this week. Dr. C. Nataraj, a mechanical engineering professor at Villanova, says the goal is to build an emergency ventilator. “What we aim to build is a low-cost, anywhere between $600 and $800, which uses as few parts as possible. And the reason you want to do that is there are a lot of wrinkles in the supply chain of parts,” Nataraj explained. He says if parts are local and manufacturing is local, costs are lower and it helps the local economy. Nataraj says the design would easily connect with existing ventilation systems, and would be open-sourced, meaning freely distributed. Nataraj wants to make the ventilators available under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization Directive for use in clinical settings. Testing could be completed this week at a lab at Children’s Hospital. And ECRI, an independent lab in Plymouth Meeting, says it will validate the design for free.
National Guard Magazine print
“Most military tasks, from reconnaissance to warfighting, can only be accomplished by a group of operators,” says C. “Nat” Nataraj, an engineering professor at Villanova University in Philadelphia who studies robots under a military grant. “Different autonomous vehicles may carry different payloads or have different capabilities. Maybe one collects information and another is a communications hub,” he says. “Autonomy will involve all these different functionalities working together. The military relies on teams to do things well, and that will extend to autonomy.”
Doctors Work With Engineers to Improve Diagnoses
U.S. News & World Report online
A partnership between engineers at Villanova University and doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia underscores how data-driven approaches using physics, math and computer algorithms can help doctors better diagnose and predict medical conditions.
A Villanova Team Takes Robotics on the Water
Philadelphia Inquirer print
More than seven months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the search for the plane is expected to resume in the Indian Ocean this month with crews trolling 23,000 square miles. Might the kernel of a better approach be found in a pond in Phoenixville? That is where Villanova University students are tinkering with a robotic boat, a two-pontoon craft equipped with a camera, a laser, and other electronics that let the boat locate obstacles and navigate on its own … The faculty advisor from Villanova is C. “Nat” Nataraj, a professor of mechanical engineering who has been working on the challenge of robotic boats for more than a decade.
Research Grants (2)
Select Academic Articles (3)
Nonlinear analysis of energy harvesting systems with fractional order physical propertiesNonlinear Dynamics
CA Kitio Kwuimy, G Litak, C Nataraj
Performance of a piezoelectric energy harvester driven by air flowApplied Physics Letters
CA Kitio Kwuimy, G Litak, M Borowiec, C Nataraj
Nonlinear modeling and analysis of a rolling element bearing with a clearanceCommunications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation
Karthik Kappaganthu, C Nataraj