CITRIS Invention Lab Producing COVID-19 Supplies

08 Apr, 2020

CITRIS Invention Lab Producing COVID-19 Supplies

Image: Dan Chapman.

BCNM is very excited to announce the Invention Lab has partnered with the Jacobs Institute to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. BCNM's Eric Paulos as faculty director of the Lab played a key role. We’re also thrilled to highlight MC Tina Piracci who brokered a connection with Maker Nexus.

While the majority of UC Berkeley is closed in observation of California's shelter-in-place order, the CITRIS Invention Lab has joined a select few labs operating to mitigate the global COVID-19 crisis. Notably, the Innovative Genomics Institute has pivoted from its genomics research to focus solely on processing COVID-19 tests.

The Invention Lab recieved a special exemption from the Vice Chancellor of Research to operate's makerspace to fabricate existing products and prototypes. On the production are products like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ventilator adaptors and materials needed by campus researchers.

From the article:

“We felt there was a huge role for us to play in combatting the crisis,” says Eric Paulos, faculty director of the Invention Lab, “and we’re figuring out how we can best utilize our skills and resources to support the kind of research projects people are starting to come up with.”

Keeping PPE sterile is another challenge. “We need to figure out how to keep them sterile in the lab, while transporting, and how to keep them sterile as they get to where they’re going,” continued Myers. “If not, we’re just producing more plastic for landfills.”

Then there’s the raw material, in increasingly short supply. “All our local sources for supplies are gone,” says senior artist Dan Chapman. “The PTG plastic sheeting for face shields is unavailable.”

For that, the Invention Lab partnered with MakerNexus, a makerspace organization in the South Bay, which has PTG stock to affix to brackets produced in the Invention Lab. MakerNexus also distributes the PPE to local hospitals.

Read the rest of the article here.