Freelance Tech Writer for SHP and IFSEC Insider

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A tech writer specialising in cybersecurity, working with Redscan on this and a number of other GDPR, MDR, and ethical hacking projects.
August 31, 2020

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How the engineering industry is helping combat COVID-19

Living through the coronavirus outbreak has been a trying time for everybody, bringing with it a series of overarching questions regarding how long the pandemic is going to last, the impact it might have on the economy, and the total number of people it’s likely to affect. 

Up to this point, the deadly virus has already killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions more to self-isolate in their own home, in order to halt its spread. 

However, rather than dwell on the doom and gloom associated with the virus, this unparalleled situation has also brought out the best in people and seen the world come together like never before. 

From Captain Tom Moore raising much-needed funds for the NHS to millions of people throughout the UK joining in on the ‘Clap for our Carers’ movement, there have been numerous examples of people standing up and showing their dedication towards helping where they can.

The engineering industry has been no exception either. 

How the engineering industry is helping combat COVID-19

In the battle against COVID-19, many engineering companies have had no choice but to forget about their various planned conferences and put their production procedures on hold, investigating alternative ways to use their resources within the aid effort.

Join us as we take a detailed look at some of the key ways engineers have helped combat the coronavirus outbreak over the past few months. 


VentilatorSince the coronavirus is a respiratory-based infection, it largely affects the lungs and the ability of affected people to breathe correctly. As a result of this, ventilators are required to help aid breathing and ensure enough oxygen is being pumped around the body. 

However, with the numbers of COVID-19 at an unprecedently high level, there haven’t been enough ventilators to go around, leaving thousands of people vulnerable to succumbing to their infection. 

That was until the engineering industry decided to step in and help. 

Since the government called on the engineering industry to help with the shortfall of ventilators at the backend of March, many companies have worked tirelessly to assemble thousands more of the life-saving devices. This has included manufacturers who aren’t even explicitly known for designing or developing medical supplies – companies such as Dyson, which normally produce vacuum cleaners, and Bindatex, which typically cut advanced materials. 

Engineers from UCL even went one step further to help the efforts as well, working alongside doctors at the University College London Hospital and engineers at Mercedes Formula 1 to create specialist devices that actually avoid the need for invasive ventilators in the first place. 

PPE equipment

While on the topic of manufacturing lifesaving equipment, engineering companies haven’t stopped at producing ventilators. 

The lack of PPE equipment for frontline NHS workers has been well-documented in recent weeks and, as a result, the engineering industry decided to step up to the plate, helping manufacture protective equipment for doctors, nurses and other medical staff to use.

Having engineers step-in in this way has proved to be a no-brainer in light of the pandemic. In one example, a collaboration between companies based in Inverness found that it only took a week to design, develop and deliver more than 1,000 face-shields for staff to use in the nearby hospitals. This will have helped not only save many lives but also reassure medical staff that protective equipment can be readily available if and when required. 

Medical testing

Since COVID-19 is so contagious, staying a safe distance away from those who are affected is an important step towards avoiding infection. With this in mind, some engineers in China have developed a robot capable of treating and testing COVID-19 patients, while enabling healthcare workers to remain safely away from the infection themselves. 

The remote-controlled machines can perform many of the jobs that healthcare workers do, including taking mouth swabs, performing ultrasound scans and listening to organs with a specialised stethoscope.

What’s more, the medical staff are always in control – using a remote control and on-board cameras, they can operate the robots from a safe distance to monitor the patient. Even more remarkably, the robots have been designed by Chief Designer Professor Zheng Gangtie to disinfect themselves after performing any actions that require contact with an infected individual. 

Final thoughts…

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying period for everyone throughout the globe but, as the examples listed prove, we are really are all in this together.

By coming together to help those in need at a time when they need it most, the engineering industry has not only demonstrated how adaptable it can be in times of trouble, but it has also saved the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of potentially vulnerable people as well. 

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Dr Efim Rabinovitch
Dr Efim Rabinovitch
3 years ago

There is still a lot unknown about the COVID19 virus, how it spreads and no cure, but evidence is increasingly pointing toward the possibility that coronavirus spreads via contact with contaminated surfaces not just through the air, which means receiving mail through the letter plate isn’t a sure-fire way to avoid exposing yourself to potential infection. With this specific to the UK aspect – the unprotected letter plate – many measures to self-isolate and stop the spread of the virus are undermined, as we can expect some mail items surfaces contaminated and postal workers infected. PowerPrize Ltd has patented working… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Dr Efim Rabinovitch