As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, hospitals around the country are running out of face masks, shields and other personal protective equipment used to safeguard healthcare workers. The University of South Florida is working collaboratively across several disciplines to help develop and produce alternative products to meet those demands.
In the USF College of Engineering’s Mini-Circuits Design for X Laboratory, senior research engineer Michael Celestin, PhD, developed an assembly line to produce face shields for medical personnel at Tampa General Hospital, USF’s primary teaching hospital and the USF Health faculty practice. Celestin’s team is using materials such as mylar, elastic and foam to produce one face shield per minute. They’ve donated 100 of them and hope to manufacture 10,000 face shields over the next month.
"USF Engineering is totally committed to supporting our medical front line workers and local community,” said Celestin. “As we come together and find new local manufacturing solutions, build new interdisciplinary ties, and are pressed to innovate with available resources, it's clear that we will emerge stronger than before."
“This is the first time we’ve had a medical emergency that’s required engineers to partner with the Morsani College of Medicine in an effective and fast way,” said Robert H. Bishop, PhD, PE, dean of the USF College of Engineering. “We are facing a real-world crisis where we need to deliver and that’s exacting what we are doing.”
“We face a national shortage of personal protective equipment and our USF College of Engineering is helping to fill the gap with their innovative design and production approach to help protect our frontline providers,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.
The USF Advanced Visualization Center (AVC) is also tirelessly working to help solve the shortage of personal protective equipment and is collaborating with the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and the USF College of Engineering on several projects, including the development of 3D printed nasal swabs and masks, among others.
“The University of South Florida has the knowledge and resources to make a difference,” said Howard Kaplan, advanced technologies manager in the AVC. “By working with so many different departments, the AVC is able to link and coordinate efforts across campus.”
USF continues to closely monitor the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff is our highest priority. For the latest update regarding remote instruction and university operations, please visit https://www.usf.edu/coronavirus/