Janis is a graduating senior in General Engineering emphasizing in Bioinformatics. She contributed her knowledge in needs finding and product design to help develop the microphone and speaker face shield. After graduation, she will be attending Johns Hopkins University to pursue a master’s degree in Bioengineering Innovation and Design.
Emma is a graduating senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She designed and manufactured the housing and mounting for the automatic disinfecting spray. After graduation, Emma will intern in the HVAC industry and apply to mechanical engineering masters programs abroad.
Matteo is a fifth year Mechanical Engineering major and History minor. He designed and manufactured the face shield’s speaker housing and the automatic disinfecting spray’s electronics. Following graduation, he will be returning to Southern California.
This project is supported by John and Connie Nielsen. We would like to thank Dr. Jim Widmann, Dr. Vladimir Prodanov, and Karla Carichner for their invaluable advising. Special thanks to Scott Mangin, Ethan Cruse, Craig Icban, and Michael Conn.
Our Project's Videos
Our Project's Digital Poster
The project objective is to design and build a toolbox to enable k-12 teachers to feel safe in the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic so that they can return to in-person teaching.
We identified over 100 individual needs faced by teachers returning to the classroom and examined return to in person education guidelines to identify two major problem areas:
- Face coverings
- High contact surface contamination
Face coverings are crucial to preventing the spread of COVID-19 however they make it challenging and exhausting for teachers to speak loudly in a classroom for the duration of a full school day.
Surfaces such as doorknobs and faucets are frequently touched by many people in a classroom. High contact surfaces are infrequently sanitized but pose as a vector for disease transmission.
Cost < $40
Battery life last a school day
Battery life > 8 hours
Applicable for doorknobs & faucets
Spray area > 4″ L x 2″ W
Minimize frequency of refilling sanitizer
Refill < 1 time per week
Easy to refill
Minimize steps required to refill
Easy to set up in various parts of classroom
Mountable to common classroom surfaces (doors, counters, desks, etc.)
Comfortable to wear for extended use
Weight < 1.85 lb & comfortable supports
Volume loud enough to hear at the back of a classroom
Speaker volume 0 dB – 90 dB
Audio is understandable
Mic detects 15 Hz – 17 kHz
The toolbox approach provides a comprehensive solution to address both the sanitation and face covering problems. Teachers can use the product suite to ensure they feel safe from all directions.
Automatic disinfecting spray
Motor & cam actuate a nozzle to spray disinfectant
Microphone & speaker face shield
Mic & speaker mount to a shoulder face shield
Automatic disinfecting spray design
Mic & Speaker Face shield
We purchased most of our components from vendors. We used 3D printing to manufacture our own custom-designed components.
Electronics and Software
To test the toolbox solution we completed component testing, assembly testing, performance testing, and user testing with k-12 teachers.
Two teachers wore the face shield periodically during the school day. The face shield was tested in both large and small group settings. The volume level was adjusted to fit the teachers’ preferences
We had our friends and roommates operate the automatic disinfecting spray running through the calibration, refilling, mounting, and battery recharging processes.
4″ x 2″ min
4″ x 3.5″
0.04 oz max
6 in min
> 6 in
4.5 lb min
8 hours min
50 Hz– 70 kHz
90 Hz – 18 kHz
8 hours min
1.85 lb max
We got feedback from the teachers and friends who conducted usability testing regarding areas to improve our toolbox. Based on their feedback, we suggest reducing the bulkiness of the face shield making the microphone and speaker less obtrusive to the overall design. For the disinfecting spray, we suggest reducing leaking from the nozzle, making the system mounting easier to adjust, and reducing the box’s overall size.
Additional testing is recommended to ensure the toolbox functions in all school settings. Additional tests include assess the feedback of the face shield in an auditorium, an acoustically challenging environment, and mounting the disinfecting spray above sink faucets to test the mounting capabilities.
The toolbox solution effectively equipped teachers with the resources to manage their safety and comfort when returning to in person education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toolbox meets the goal of executing safety procedures while allowing teachers to focus on teaching.
The face shield amplifies the user’s voice reducing the strain of talking loudly over a face mask for extended periods of time. The disinfecting spray sanitizes surfaces below it after someone touches the surface. The responses from our user testing indicated the face shield was easy to operate and effective. While the disinfecting spray could use improvements in usability, it functioned as expected.