helpfulETH – engineering solutions to help healthcare
30 April 2020
helpfulETH is an initiative by the ETH Domain and Swiss academia. Its aim is to place the expertise of Swiss academia and Swiss industrial partners at the disposal of the Swiss healthcare system in order to offer as much support as possible to tackle COVID-19.
helpfulETH operates as a point of contact, matching needs of healthcare providers with project teams who work on quick and implementable solutions. The project teams consist of volunteers from the broad array of the ETH domain’s network. Volunteers have widely varying skill-sets, as they are engineers, scientists, researchers, doctors, legal specialists and many more.
The initiative helpfulETH started as an idea by the Feasibility Lab for Healthcare Innovation, located at pd|z and founded by Prof. Mirko Meboldt (Chair of Product Development and Engineering Design) together with Prof. Detlef Günther (Vice President for Research and Corporate Relations) at ETH Zurich in January 2020.
As the first still subtle signs of COVID-19 reached Switzerland, the Feasibility Lab reached out to Universitätsspital Zürich, realizing the need to support healthcare stakeholders in this possible challenge. Students and researchers at pdz started to put together outlines for a project structure. Simultaneously, other institutions within the ETH Domain launched similar initiatives. While the extent of the COVID-19 situation increased, healthcare providers also began reaching out.
It became clear that the best way forward was to join forces: Professors at EPFL instantly showed their full support. Prof. David Atienza Alonso (Director of the Section of EE (SEL) and Head of Embedded Systems Laboratory (ESL) at the School of Engineering) takes the leading role in coordinating the initiative helpfulETH from the EPFL-side, also connecting to the initiatives already taken by EPFL.
helpfulETH is growing daily and is happy to witness the coming together of the academic community! The initiative helpfulETH has several projects in progress, with new ones being added continuously. Some solutions are already being used in hospitals. The reception has been one of great appreciation among burdened healthcare personnel - a sentiment, which only inspires the volunteers to work even harder!