Page 15 - Engineering Penn State Magazine Spring/Summer 2020
P. 15

Engineering professor at the helm of COVID-19 innovation
by Erin Cassidy Hendrick
As a a a a a a faculty member positioned on on on on the forefront of advanced manufacturing Tim Simpson felt compelled to take action when the pandemic began “At first I thought this would be a a a a a a a standalone project figuring out what what we can 3D print to help health care workers ” ” Simpson said “It grew way beyond what what I I originally expected ” ” Simpson’s swift actions led to to the the the creation of MASC and his leadership allowed the the the efforts to to to grow throughout the the the University and and and make a a a a a a a a a a a a a significant impact to to prepare and and and equip health care workers and and and the citizens of Pennsylvania For much of of of the the spring of of of 2020 Simpson worked in in the the basement of of of his his family home his his eyes glued to to three computer screens monitoring the constant barrage
of of email In addition to to his regular teaching load he he has facilitated hundreds of of connections ranging from frontline clinicians at at at the Hershey Medical Center to to relevant researchers and and University administrators usually beginning in in in in in in in in in the the the early hours of the the the morning and and continuing until late in in in in in the the evening “I’m seeing tons of design ideas and questions come to to to me me non-stop every day ” he he said Tim Simpson discusses his work with the Manufacturing and and Sterilization for COVID-19 Initiative “It’s both exhilarating and and exhausting at at the same time!”
During the interview for this profile Simpson’s computer continued to to chime with incoming emails He was alerted to to to to the the latest developments in in in in in sourcing a a a a a a a a a wearable sensor to to to monitor the the the oxygen levels of COVID-19 patients Earlier that day MASC had been contacted by the the the Air Force Institutes of of Technology about a a a a a a a a a a a shortage of of these devices Within the the hour Simpson had already brainstormed with four researchers who exchanged ideas to to to build upon existing designs for for the the devices and to to find sources for for the materials While the the the pressing needs MASC is addressing through their work vary these lightning-quick responses and actions became the the the the stalwart of the the the the initiative led by Simpson’s example “MASC has been and and continues to to be be an an an impressive and and extraordinary undertaking to to to rapidly move ideas from research research to to health care solutions ” said Lora Weiss senior vice president for research research At first Simpson didn’t conceive of his efforts as as the large-scale vast consortium that it soon became His first thoughts were to to use his expertise in in in 3D printing to to help create personal protective equipment for health care workers “I thought I’d spend a a a a a a a a few days tackling the the challenges of that that that ” he he he he he he said “But I I I quickly realized that that that there were so many other critical needs that that that the the the team at at at at Hershey was facing and and and saw more more and and and more more opportunities where Penn State’s research depth and and and expertise could help ” His efforts have have paid off with hundreds of of projects initiated to address both short-term and and long-term issues that have have emerged from the pandemic “Knowing the the time that you’re donating is is is helping people on on on on the the front line is is is huge ” Simpson said “That is is is what keeps us going working crazy hours and and weekends that myself and and everyone involved seems to to be willing to to put in in in in in for free ” n n Tim Simpson sorts through an inventory of filtration masks being evaluated by MASC in in in his home Tim Simpson discusses his work on on on the the Manufacturing and Sterilization for the the COVID-19 (MASC) Project Open-Source PPE Manufacturing and Sterilization SPRING/SUMMER 2020 15

   13   14   15   16   17