As Texas A&M Engineering finds innovative ways to help the community deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at the SuSu and Mark A. Fischer ’72 Engineering Design Center (FEDC) in the Zachry Engineering Education Complex is working around the clock to make those solutions a reality.
The FEDC’s skeleton crew of essential research members kicked off a project last week to provide Baylor College of Medicine in Houston with 3,000 face shields to help protect its medical workers while they treat sick patients.
Starting with a face shield design made publicly available by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the FEDC team modified the design to work with the materials they had available. The main challenge for completing the face shield design—essentially a resizable headband with a curved plastic sheet covering the user’s full face—was in finding a way to use a thicker plastic than is typically utilized.
Dr. David Staack, director of engineering laboratory instruction, said due to supply shortages, staff technicians had to find a way to make the design work with the materials they had on-hand—including supplies he had available in his research lab, as well as those able to be sourced from the College of Architecture.
Typically during this time of year, the design center would be operating at full capacity helping students complete their senior design projects. With all classes going online in March due to COVID-19, Jim Wilson, general manager of the FEDC, said he and his team are glad to have found another way to be of service during these trying times.
“We miss the students, but what we’re doing right now, we know is helping a lot of people,” Wilson said. “The COVID-19 projects are our top priority right now.”
The FEDC team also includes technical laboratory coordinators Adam Farmer and Todd Williams, as well as Nathan Panak, Cody Ricther, Brey Caraway, Richard McCalley, Iran Ramirez and Tobias Gualandri.
“You see all kinds of stuff online and on TV of people trying to help,” Farmer said. “For us to be able to do something and know that what we’re doing is going to people who are doing more good than we are, to help them, is a happy feeling.”
The FEDC staff’s collective effort to bring these impactful projects to fruition is part of a wider Texas A&M community coming together—from loading dock attendants to members of the legal team—to make sure these critical pieces of equipment make it to those in need.
Courtesy of tees.tamu.edu