© yuri arcurs dreamstime.com General | December 15, 2020
“Engineers develop solutions to fix problems”
Members of the element14 community work together to provide free masks and shields for first responders, create germ fighting electronics designs and provide open source instructions for building ventilators.
element14 says it has seen its global membership of engineers and makers rise to the challenge to stay safe and support local first responders during the pandemic. The 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 deliver additional lifesaving machines as COVID-19 cases continue impact the world. “Engineers develop solutions to fix problems, and our community of innovators is no different,” says Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of the element14 Community and Social Media for Farnell, in a press release. When the pandemic first reached members of the element14 community, they requested a new design challenge to help drive and inspire them to come up with new ways to stay safe. The Fighting Germs Design Challenge, which was launched in March 2020, saw a range of projects created by participants to fight COVID-19 and protect people. 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 Community site to encourage other members to find unique ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 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 design, a Raspberry Pi 4 controls a Trinamic Motion control and motor driver ICs that regulate a blower fan corresponding to constantly monitored data.