With assistance from
Students in UTDesign, a senior capstone program, played a significant role in developing the swabs, which Adaptive3D continues to refine, said Dr. Walter Voit BS'05, MS'06, the company's founder and CEO.
Voit, associate professor of materials science and engineering and of mechanical engineering in the
Adaptive3D sponsored two projects through the senior capstone program. The company challenged one team to find a way to design a breakpoint for the rubbery swab and asked another team to develop an automated process to sort and assemble the swabs after manufacturing.
The second team's automated system won second place in the
The company is continuing to refine the swabs by increasing their viral loads after discovering that the product has the potential to improve the accuracy of future tests.
'We will pick up from where the student teams left off with their designs, working with our sister company, EnvisionTEC, also recently purchased by
Once 3D-printed, the swabs must go through several steps, including the removal of a slippery polymer resin and a curing process. Trent Sakakini BS'21, now a UT
'No one had done this before, so we had no examples to draw from,' Sakakini said. 'It's cool to look back and see how we started with nothing, and then nine months down the line, we had a working prototype.'
The pandemic presented challenges for students, who worked remotely and coordinated around reduced UTDesign lab capacity to protect users' safety.
'We received our project when there was a shortage of nasal swabs,' said engineering team lead Trevor Schmaeling BS'21, now a graduate student in systems engineering. 'That added an extra motivating factor in terms of us wanting to get it done.'
Schmaeling, who hopes to work in the medical device industry, said the project gave him valuable experience that was especially relevant during the pandemic.
'We also were excited about the fact that our project was for a company created by UT
Members of Schmaeling's team, which designed the nasopharyngeal swab's breakpoint, included Jacob Feret BS'21; Rohclem Lim, mechanical engineering senior; Darrah Merillat BS'21, biomedical engineering graduate student; Ethan Nichols BS'21; and Andrew Riding BS'21.
Sakakini's teammates included Josiah Go BS'21; Tobias Hynes BS'21; Petro John BS'21, mechanical engineering graduate student; Thien Nguyen BS'21; and Jayaram Rajagopalan BS'21.
Media Contact: Kim Horner, UT
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