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A research team from universities in two continents is racing to develop ‘do-it-yourself’ healthcare gear. The aim is to have gears that can be developed and assembled from components available at the local level.
“We’re trying to figure out how to get these things to scale in the time we have,” said Shannon Yee. She is an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, part of the team working on the ventilator issue.
Using resources of the Flowers Invention Studio, such as 3D printing, the group has produced 1,000 face shields and is preparing to fabricate kits that hospitals can assemble.
"With the significant challenges on our supply chain, we need strategies to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare staff," said Dr. Charles Brown, CEO of Physician Enterprise at Piedmont Healthcare. "We have mechanisms in place to develop ideas and are working with Georgia Tech and the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) to advance them to what we can use."
To scale up fabrication beyond the university campus, the team identified simple designs that could be shared and produced by whoever has access to a makerspace. The group is leveraging university contacts with companies to find suppliers of alternative materials.
"The Georgia Tech mechanical engineering team is working to modify open source face shield designs so they can be manufactured in high volumes for the rapid response environment that COVID-19 requires,” said Christopher Saldana, an associate professor in the Woodruff School. “Our team has modified these designs using a range of product and process optimization methods, including removing certain features and standardizing tool use. By working on cross-functional and cross-disciplinary teams and directly involving healthcare practitioners and high-volume manufacturers, we will be able to respond to this effort at the scale and speed required."
The team is launching a website www.research.gatech.edu/rapid-response to quantify the needs for face shields and solicit supplies of materials.
Besides the face shield, researchers are also looking at other needs of the medical community, such as ventilators, disinfecting wipes and respirators.
More information: http://www.news.gatech.edu/2020/03/23/do-it-yourself-medical-devices-pro...
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