UP engineers seek funding for projects against Covid-19

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The University of Diliman College of Engineering (UPCoE) has bared several projects that could help the county in its ongoing fight against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

In a post on its social media page, the UPCoE said among these projects are:

  • 3D-printed personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontliners;
  • Prototype ventilators;
  • Tracking and monitoring solution for persons under investigation (PUIs);
  • Mobile plasma treatment apparatus; and
  • Prototype cleaning chamber, based on ultraviolet (UV-C) light exposure that will be used for disinfecting used PPEs.

The UP projects are primarily designed to alleviate the shortage in supplies of equipment particularly for frontliners including doctors, nurses, and other medical health workers.

In the social media post, the UPCoE said it is working with government agencies and other UP departments and is ready to deploy the necessary resources including engineers, designers, and production crews to handle the proposed projects.

“Under the guidance of the team, ideas from the different members of UPCoE were collated and assessed,” the department said. However, the UPCoE said they need funding and “cash infusion to initiate work.”

For the first project, the UPCoE is pooling 3D printers that will be used for the production of PPEs particularly face shield frames. The printers will be installed in UP and will be manned by a production crew. A funding of P500,000 will be needed for this project.

The UP engineers will also work on designing and producing prototype ventilators. Hospitals are running short of these machines and commercially available machines are expensive. A team of engineers from UPCoE will look into creating prototype adult ventilators that are quick to produce and are cost-effective alternatives to commercially available ones. A funding of P500,000 will be needed for this project.

The UPCoE said monitoring the location and movement of PUIs (persons under investigation) is critical in preventing the rapid spread of the disease. The department said it will work with the Department of Transportation and locals telcos to create an effective movement tracker for registered PUIs in the community. A funding of P300,000 is needed for this project.

A mobile plasma treatment is also being eyed. According to UPCoE, this project, in coordination with the UP Manila College of Medicine, the UP Philippine General Hospital, and the faculty of UPCoE, aims to fabricate a mobile plasma treatment apparatus that can be employed for the disinfection of building surfaces (e.g. hospital walls, emergency rooms, walkways), PPEs and health utilities (e.g. air filters), and office equipment. A funding of P70,000 per month is need for this project.

The last project is a prototype cleaning chamber based on UV light exposure. The UPCoE said the current stockpile of PPE, particularly N95 medical masks and respirators, is already insufficient, and the capacity to expand production of these is limited.

The prototype cleaning chamber is expected to help disinfect used PPEs which can then be safely re-issued and re-used by medical personnel for protection. A funding of P600,000 is needed for this project.

Prospective donors are encouraged to get in touch with Dr. Eden May B. dela Peña at ebdelapena@up.edu.ph for more information.

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