COVID-19 Design Challenge

The Columbia Community is coming together to address challenges posed by COVID-19. We invite students, postdocs, faculty, and staff from all schools to participate in this design challenge. The goal of the challenge is to produce a viable design concept (could include a rough prototype, if possible) to win continued support toward the development of an interdisciplinary technology-driven solution that could be used to support the COVID-19 response effort. These design-concepts can be medically-focused or intended to facilitate life in the ‘new normal’ we are experiencing during this ongoing pandemic.

The design challenge is divided into the following tracks:

  • What can we implement in public spaces to encourage social distancing?
  • How can we make sterilization techniques and cleaning materials more available when people are away from home?
  • How can people make sure their delivered packages are germ-free and safe to open at home?
  • What can be done to monitor temperature or other symptoms of the virus?
  • What solutions could aid with the shift to remote work?
  • How can young children through graduate students be supported in their education and socialization during periods of remote living?
  • How can we assist people who are in quarantine and need supplies?
  • How can you maintain social and creative activities (e.g., dance, music, art, working out) during periods of remote life?
  • How can we track the disease more effectively?
  • How can we better trace the disease as it moves through the population?
  • What lessons can we learn from historical data on how a disease spreads through a community?
  • What can we predict for the future of the spread of disease?
  • What can we learn from this pandemic to help detect and prevent the next potential pandemic?

Design Challenge: DIY Ventilator and Virtual Campus

Under the Design Challenge are narrower tracks with more specific goals:

We invite students, faculty, and staff from all Columbia schools, as well as external makers, inventors, and clinicians, to participate in the Columbia DIY Ventilator challenge. The goal of this challenge is to design a DIY (do-it-yourself) Non-invasive Ventilator (NIV). Specifically we are interested in a device that will inflate and deflate an Ambu-bag in a systematic manner, as an emergency stop-gap while critical patients are waiting for care that may not be immediately available. Experienced clinicians, engineers, and makers are also needed to advise teams and to help judge and improve entries.

Noninvasive ventilators can help care for critical patients suffering from pulmonary diseases such as that induced by COVID19, where ventilator shortage is anticipated. For a review of some recent activity in this area, see Fortune Magazine’s article on Sprint to design thousands of ventilators.

*** Learn more details and specifications here. ***

 

Below are key dates:

4/2: Design Challenge Kickoff Event and Info Session (Zoom webinar, 12PM – 1PM EDT)
4/6: Teams submit design proposals. The format is a PDF of a presentation (e.g. PowerPoint) showing CAD renderings of the entire system, labeled exploded view, basic specifications, parts list, estimated component cost.

4/8: Selected teams receive budget (up to $3K) to build their design. This budget is intended to cover materials and components, tools (e.g. 3D printer) and other expenses. Contenders will receive the amount as a single sum and will place their own orders.

4/22: Video submission of final product and design to the email address below

4/27: Selected winners announced. Winners receive additional funds after posting detailed instructions on Columbia Design Challenge website.

We encourage as many students as possible to contribute their vision, ingenuity, and empathy so we can collectively create critical life-saving tools as we face this global pandemic.

Even though the Columbia and Barnard students are now spread out all over the world, we are still a community – here to support, engage, and enrich each other’s lives. While most of the normal campus activities have been suspended, we can still maintain our community through virtual campus experiences.

In light of this, a group of juniors at Columbia along with Prof. Lydia Chilton and Prof. Eugene Wu, are organizing a three-day design challenge from April 4 – April 6 to discover, design, and build solutions for the challenges of remote living. Being remote poses big challenges to mental health, motivation, concentration, and seeking help. Many of us worry about the present as well as the near and far-term future.

The goal will be for students to come together to find ways to:

1. Help students cope with social isolation (eg. fun activities, communication portals, articles, videos, etc)
2. Help students continue to learn, work and live to the best of their abilities.
3. Maintain and adapt campus activities that support the community.

Students from all majors are welcome to participate. No experience necessary. Faculty and student mentors will help you get their ideas off the ground. If they have an idea for an app, we can connect them to students eager to build things. Prizes will be award at the end of the event.

RSVP here: https://bit.ly/designchallenge-rsvp  
Join the slack: https://bit.ly/virtual-campus-slack

Challenge Timeline

4/1 – Contenders submit design proposals. Format is a PDF of a presentation (e.g. PowerPoint) showing CAD renderings of the entire system, labeled exploded view, basic specifications, parts list, estimated component cost.

4/3 – Selected teams receive budget ($3,000) to build their design. This budget is intended to cover materials and components, tools (e.g. 3D printer) and other expenses. Contenders will receive the amount as a single sum and will place their own orders.

4/18 – Video submission of final product and design.

4/20 – Selected winners announced.

4/25 – Winners receive additional budgets ($2,000) after posting detailed instructions on Columbia DIY website.

 

For more information about the design challenge, please contact seascovid19@columbia.edu