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  • Writer's pictureGEARE Executive Board

Making impact amidst pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals have been working on how to keep healthcare professionals safe and a few GEARE students decided to join the fight. Students that were studying abroad in France, Spain, and Ecuador this spring returned home early with the spread of the disease and joined efforts to help these workers. The group focused on designing a booth that could be assembled quickly and used while examining and collecting samples from patients. This project was conducted 100% remotely.

The booth also helps save personal protective equipment, which is in shortage during the pandemic, while protecting the user from infection. “Dr. Francisco Montalvo said there was an issue related to COVID-19 and asked if we could help” said Tyler Witzig, a Mechanical engineering student that worked on the project after studying abroad at UFSQ in Ecuador.

“The most valuable lesson I learned was how to work on a tight deadline” - Amanda Angulo (UFSQ, Mechanical Engineering)

Given the urgency of the matter, the group went through many iterations of the design in just a few days. Furthermore, each iteration had its own drawings, bill of materials, and pricing associated with.

“We did research in what solutions were implemented in other countries and how we could modify those to make it less expensive and faster to assemble on-site by the doctors and nurses” - Leonardo de Freitas (ESTACA, Mechanical Engineering)

Currently, prototypes are being assembled at Purdue to create a manual for construction. It is expected that the manual and materials will be distributed to hospitals over in the East coast shortly, that have already expressed interest in implementing this solution. According to Amanda, the advice she would give to other students is that “even during a pandemic, as engineers, we are so capable of finding ways to help others.

We have so much knowledge even if we do not realize it, and we have more to offer to others.” - Amanda Angulo

Project members

Amanda Angulo Mechanical Engineering, UFSQ Ecuador

Leonardo de Freitas Mechanical Engineering, ESTACA France Garrett Fehrman Mechanical Engineering, UPV Spain

Claire O’Connor – Chemical Engineering, UFSQ Ecuador

Tyler Witzig – Mechanical Engineering, UFSQ Ecuador

Cecelia Germann UFSQ Ecuador


Dr. Eric Nauman

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