Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic

At FIU’s College of Engineering & Computing, our students and faculty have risen to the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers treating patients, FIU early on began an initiative to 3D-print non-disposable face shields for Baptist Health South Florida and our local first responders.

We are immensely proud of our dedicated students and faculty members who have made the health of our South Florida community a top priority by working non-stop in printing and delivering the non-disposable face shields. We have printed more than 2,500 shields, and we continue to 3D-print more. For a full list of all involved, visit our website.

Our efforts don’t stop there. Andres Tremante, director of the CD-SSEC, is spearheading a project to 3D-print what is known as a positive pressure ventil-aid system. The system is designed to provide oxygen simultaneously to as many as four patients in the same room, making sure the oxygen flows uninterrupted and preventing contamination from one patient to another.

Tremante and his team of students have been invited to submit a full proposal to the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer Research Phase I COVID-19 program. His vision is for current engineering students, alumni and small businesses to collaborate in making the prototype.

Our researchers have also seen a need to use their expertise or to build upon existing platforms to help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Miguel Alonso Jr. and Shu-Ching Chen from the School of Computing and Information Sciences received a National Science Foundation (NSF) RAPID award, titled A Platform for Mitigating the Impacts of COVID-19 on the Healthcare System. The researchers, in collaboration with professors from FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA), will be developing a mobile app, using artificial intelligence and augmented reality, as a digital “hub” for PPE training. There’s also a component of supporting innovation and the manufacturing of medical equipment through networking. Please find the full story on FIU News.

As a strong reflection of her dedication to education for minority populations and as a graduate of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Trina Fletcher from the School of Universal Computing, Construction and Engineering Education, is a principal investigator on an NSF RAPID Award to study the impact of COVID-19 on broadening participation in engineering at HBCUs. She’s also a co-principal investigator on another NSF RAPID Award, in collaboration with the University of Georgia, where researchers will explore how the pandemic is impacting underrepresented students in engineering.

Arif Mohaimin Sadri of Moss Department of Construction Management and M. Hadi Amini of School of Computing and Information Sciences also received an NSF RAPID Award to understand how individuals are socially influenced online and analyze the public’s response to crises like COVID-19. The findings will be useful for public health and emergency management agencies. Additionally, Amini and his team of researchers created a dashboard that can predict the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 using data analytics.

As you can see, FIU is fully operational and committed to helping our community during these challenging times. For updates on coronavirus from FIU, news on what other units are doing or to sign up for one of our many virtual events, visit the FIU Coronavirus Updates page.


Stay safe, stay healthy,

John L. Volakis
Dean, College of Engineering & Computing

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