Opinion: The University of Wisconsin and other public universities are on the front lines of the battle against coronavirus

By UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities President Peter McPherson via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In the middle of March, as hospitals in the Midwest began to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, a University of Wisconsin-Madison engineer and faculty member named Lennon Rodgers received an urgent message from a colleague at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

The story was one we’ve seen across the country: The hospital needed 1,000 face shields and had been unable to buy them. Could Rodgers’ Grainger Engineering Design Innovation Lab help?

He put his children to bed, raced to Home Depot, stopped at a craft store to pick up a couple of foam mannequin heads and then pulled together an interdisciplinary team of physicians, engineers and partners from industry to come up with a prototype. They wanted something that could be mass-produced quickly and cheaply and that would feel familiar to the user. After some trial-and-error, they found a design that worked and then posted the pattern and materials list online so others could make these face shields. Read more …