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APPL 412, Spring 2020, UNC Chapel Hill

Dr. Richard Goldberg

In this class, students identify needs that could be addressed with an innovative device or product, and work in groups on a semester project to turn their entrepreneurial ideas into reality. In spring 2020, this class went virtual in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the students scattered and no access to our makerspace facilities, we realized that it would be difficult for the students to complete the projects that they had started. Instead, we did a 5-week design sprint, brainstorming new project ideas that are related to the need for everyone to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. Students developed these designs so that materials were easy to obtain and they could complete the fabrication at home with minimal resources. We are sharing these ideas with the public so that you can duplicate them for your own use.

See below for more information about each project. The students also prepared a detailed description of how to make this yourself. The links to their descriptions on the website are included below.

Face Touch Monitor

Designers: Scotty Burleson, Andrew Fulmer, and Miki Reynolds

During the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most important recommendations from the CDC is to avoid touching your face. This helps prevent the virus from spreading. This may seem easy, but many people touch their face unconsciously throughout the day. We designed a product that attaches to a hat to alert users every time they touch their face. This product is a lightweight hat attachment that beeps every time a user’s hand goes to touch their face. The device is virtually undetectable to the user who is wearing the hat.

Learn how to make this yourself here!


Negative Pressure Room

Designers: Bronson Gatts and Megan Lienau

The Negative Pressure Project is designed to enhance the effectiveness of home isolation, by augmenting the safety features of a quarantine environment. Through this accessible and convenient model, we aim to create a functioning, affordable pressure management system while allowing individuals facing the threat illness due to airborne infection to remain comfortable in their homes. By filtering and re-directing potentially hazardous air with a simple pressure management system, our team hopes to create opportunities for any space to be transformed into a usable isolation environment.

Learn how to make this yourself here!

Handy Helper: Hand washing timer

Designers: Ana Carvallo, Yi Ge and Griffin Spencer

The Handy Helper Handwashing Timer is a small, sleek device that can be mounted onto any standard faucet and changes colors to let users know when they have washed their hands for the full 20-seconds that is recommended by the CDC. This device was initially developed in response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as a way to slow the spread of the virus, though the hope is that our device will assist both families as well as the general public in practicing proper handwashing techniques as a part of their daily life.



Face Masks

Designers: Hunter Woodie and Nico Gomez

We wanted to make a mask that would be accessible to everyone. And typical face masks exclude people who are hard of hearing or deaf, since they rely on reading lips and facial expressions to understand what people are saying to them. So our mask-making guide, with the clear opening around the mouth, will hopefully eliminate this problem and allow everyone to feel safe and comfortable during this pandemic.

Learn how to make this yourself here!