As the coronavirus continues to spread, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) has found ways to deal with this pandemic and even ways to help others. Recently, Missouri S&T has been 3D printing face shields, masks, and brackets for local healthcare providers. In addition to this, they are helping with research and fabrication of other devices to fight the coronavirus.
For the last two weeks, two students have been designing and creating face shields for Phelps County Medical Center. These face shields were created using a 3D printer and will assist the local community in fighting the pandemic. The students responsible for this are Tom Hoing and Max Foley. They recently delivered over 1,000 face shields as their first run of the project.
Professors at Missouri S&T are also doing their part. Currently, professors in the computer and electrical engineering departments at Missouri S&T are researching and developing a device to detect and distinguish the coronavirus from the flu or a cold. The design of this product is based on sensors with extra high sensitivity. To use the device, people would breathe into the sensor. If the sensor detects a virus, then it will be chemically tagged for further testing in a spectrometer. This entire process would take less than a minute. The research team hopes that this device will be widely available once the final prototype is created. However, this design could take years. The initial design, which would detect if someone is healthy or sick, could be in clinical trials within a year. The final design will take significantly longer.
Other researchers within the Missouri S&T community are studying the best fabrics and materials for face masks. This research project was even quoted in the New York Times. The researchers are testing common household items for their ability to prevent the spread of aerosols. This research is still in the works.
Another research project is using social media to study the coronavirus. The study is analyzing tens of millions of posts on twitter to show how attitudes towards the disease have changed. The objective is to determine how people feel after public officials release statements so that they can assist public officials in creating ways to share news that will not spread panic.
The University also went to a pass/fail system to help their students during this difficult time. The faculty senate approved a motion to change the grading system for the spring semester due to the coronavirus. This policy went effective immediately. The instructors will assign ABCD grades as normal, but all F grades will be replaced with a U. Students will also be allowed to change all or some of their classes to pass/fail after the final grades are put in. Students will have until June 5th to decide whether they want their classes to report a grade or pass/fail. Pass/fail grades do not have an impact on students GPA.
Missouri University of Science and Technology is finding ways to help their students and the community. The S&T community is doing what Miners do best; finding a solution. S&T is known for their research and ability to create outstanding engineers, and they are using these skills to fight off this pandemic.