University of Minnesota Students Quickly Design Protective Gowns for Healthcare Workers
Students at the University of Minnesota who are part of the biomedical engineering department teamed up with M Health Fairview to design and make protective, disposable gowns for healthcare workers.
M Health Fairview had reached out to a professor in the biomedical engineering department, Steven Saliterman, and asked him to help with coming up with a protective, disposable gown that could be made quickly and at a low price.
Professor Saliterman contacted 18 of his biomedical engineering students to help with making these gowns. Many of the students said this was the most rewarding project they've ever worked on and that they learned a lot from the process.
Their goal is to be able to make 350,000 gowns in the next few months. With that goal in mind, the students set out to find the right design, materials, and manufacturers to produce these gowns quickly and cost-effectively.
On the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering website, Olivia Hultgren writes that the students "created drawings and prototypes, sourced a Food and Drug Administration-certified material, visited plants, and found local manufacturers." The manufacturers they ended up being able to partner with are Red Fox Innovations and Polar Plastics.
The students were able to create these gowns for use at Minnesota hospitals within two weeks. Red Fox Innovations and Polar Plastics have been able to produce between 5,000 and 10,000 gowns per day! James Kerber, a biomedical engineer senior said, "'This was one of the most rewarding projects I have been on. And, it’s a valuable experience that I can talk about in nearly any interview for many years to come.'”
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