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The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

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Engineer "helpers"

Posted April 03, 2020 10:00 AM by M-ReeD
Pathfinder Tags: Coronavirus engineers

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” —Fred Rogers

Though perhaps overused to reconcile events that are difficult to process, this quote from television’s Mr. Rogers seems more appropriate now than ever before as we grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

All over the world, stories of helpers and those willing to sacrifice personal health and safety to save others are emerging; from first responders and healthcare personnel working without the proper protective equipment to volunteers making masks to protect those who ultimately protect us, helpers really are everywhere.

Though perhaps not on the frontlines, experts in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are also lending their expertise to help save lives.

For instance, a team of scientists from the University of California, Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) is building a robotic pop-up laboratory in response to the coronavirus pandemic with the potential for processing over 1,000 patient swab samples in under 24 hours.

Meanwhile, engineers from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are retrofitting space within New York City’s Jacob Javits Center to make way for roughly 1,000 beds in anticipation of more coronavirus-related illnesses overwhelming local hospitals.

Similarly, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have made the template design for an emergency ventilating device public amid a global shortage of life-saving ventilators as such machines are necessary to treat patients with extreme cases of the respiratory illness.

This is just a sampling of those helping out during this unprecedented event. And that help is not limited to the STEM world. Help is coming from even the most unexpected corners of the globe. Perhaps the most unexpected help was in the form of medical scrubs donated from a medical fetish — yes, that is evidently a thing — supplier website. The scrubs were donated to an unnamed hospital in the U.K. amid a protective wear shortage.

Probably not the kind of helper Mr. Rogers envisioned, but these events are unlike anything he, and the rest of us for that matter, could have ever imagined.

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