Maths tutoring, visors and disinfection – volunteer initiatives continue at Lund University

In the current extraordinary situation, voluntary initiatives and ideas have taken off at Lund University, at several different faculties. Everyone is helping where they can.

Charlotta Johnsson (Photo: Tiina Meri)

Charlotta Johnsson (Photo: Tiina Meri)

In times of significant pressures on society, many people want to contribute to ensure the functioning of healthcare and education.

When it became apparent that the paediatric emergency department in Lund, among others, had a shortage of masks and protective material, Lund University gathered materials and handed it over to Skåne University Hospital.

On a Sunday afternoon, a small group of Faculty of Engineering students and staff employed at the Ingvar Kamprad Design Centre came together to produce 40 prototypes of two types of visors for the doctors and nurses at Skåne University Hospital to use. Anders J Johansson, associate professor in radio systems, who had to stay home himself due to cold symptoms, was the initiator.

By Monday evening the prototypes, which are made of overhead transparencies and other simple materials, had been given the green light from the University Hospital following testing by staff.

“This evening, the Faculty of Engineering’s fantastic students and staff made 275 visors. This time, we made the single-use version, but the hospital wants both models, so we will produce the other one too”, says Charlotta Johnsson, professor in automatic control and the vice dean for collaboration at the Faculty of Engineering.

The ‘other’ visor is a 3D-printed plastic shield that can be cleaned and reused, and to which overhead transparencies can be attached. The single-use model is made from overhead transparencies, foam rubber and elastic.

“We are counting on having more production evenings here. And we have already received a supply of overhead transparencies from different units at the Faculty of Engineering”, says Charlotta Johnsson.

She emphasises that the faculty is very grateful for all the commitment shown by students and staff, and for the material donated by two Lund businesses.

The volunteer production nights take place within the framework of X-Lab, which is the Faculty of Engineering’s makerspace for students.

“We will, of course, consider different aspects of the spread of infection to ensure that both the production and the visors are safe”, says Charlotta Johnsson.

Tom Laumola, a surveying student and group leader at Engineers Without Borders in Lund, has also participated in the production. He predicts more students will want to get involved:

“Now that students are studying remotely and spending time at home so much, many are probably feeling restless. I have sent the information out to our local group and several have already expressed an interest. This is the perfect situation in which to help.

In the chemistry building, production of hand sanitiser has been underway since last week. In the lab, university researchers and doctoral students are mixing ethanol, water, hydrogen peroxide and glycerol. The disinfectant solution is delivered to Skåne University Hospital, where supplies are running dry due to the coronavirus.

“We have been in contact with the large distillery in Åhus and will be receiving material from them. So, we are counting on being able to produce on a large scale”, said Leif Bülow, who is one of the initiators and a professor in applied biochemistry at the Faculty of Engineering, in an interview with Swedish Television.

The initiative by students at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology to provide students in upper secondary schools and years 6-9 with free maths tutoring also received a quick response from students at the Faculty of Engineering in Lund, and tutoring is now also being arranged in physics, chemistry, biology and programming.

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