UW Researchers Redesign Critical Medical Equipment

In early Spring of 2020, the phone calls and emails started streaming in to the mechanical engineering department of the University of Wisconsin – Madison: “We don’t have enough ventilators, can you design something else?” Then a couple weeks later, “Okay, we have enough ventilators, now we need personal protection equipment (PPE), face shields, and N95 masks.” And suddenly another call for help, “We think we’re going to have to put a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) on every person who comes in contact with a COVID-19 patient — we don’t have enough and the ones we have aren’t getting the job done!” The local hospital needed assistance on a variety of fronts.

University of Wisconsin Mechanical Engineering faculty associate Erick Oberstar, and several other instructional staff and tenure-track professors in the U.W. College of Engineering who were allowed to stay on campus after all the students left, felt the pressure. “It was an emotional roller coaster,” he recalls. “There were six or seven of us that literally dropped everything else, and another dozen or so that were contributing. We were all putting in 120 hours a week for two months trying to help out every way we could. The situation was dire. Lives were depending on it.”

Read the full article at: https://www.medicaldesignbriefs.com/component/content/article/mdb/stories/blog/37523