element14 has grouped together and seen its global membership of engineers and makers rise to the challenge for new designs to stay safe and support their friends, family and local first responders during the pandemic.
The element14 community’s focus has been on encouraging innovation to create germ-fighting solutions, providing 3D printers to produce face shields and masks, and sharing open-source instructions to help provide additional life-saving machines as COVID-19 cases continue to impact people’s lives around the world.
“Engineers develop solutions to fix problems, and our community of innovators is no different,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of the element14 Community and Social Media for Farnell. “We’re so proud of the way our community has banded together in the face of this pandemic to support each other and provide needed supplies and solutions to help people stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
When the pandemic first reached members of the element14 community, they requested a new design challenge to help drive them to come up with new ways to stay safe. The Fighting Germs Design Challenge, launched in March 2020, saw a range of projects created by participants to fight COVID-19 and protect vulnerable populations.
The winning designs ranged from contact-less virtual buttons to a face mask detector system, to a contact-free temperature checker. All of the participants blogged about their designs on the element14 website to encourage other members to find unique ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Alongside using their engineering skills to create innovative germ-fighting solutions, element14 Community members came together to distribute 3D printed face shields and masks to first responders across the globe. The members published an open-source face shield plan and then 3D printed face shields that they donated to first responders at local hospitals and pharmacies.
And to help hospitals facing ventilator shortages, element14 shared an open-source ventilator that could be locally produced to fill the gap quickly. The goal for this design was to inspire engineers and medical companies with new ways to design a ventilator and to offer something that could be mass-produced quickly to offer high-quality ventilation.
In this innovative design, a Raspberry Pi 4 controls a Trinamic Motion control and motor driver ICs that regulate a blower fan corresponding to constantly monitored data. All of these projects and designs highlight the incredible work being done by the more than 750,000-member strong element14 Community to help keep their communities safe in these unprecedented times.