Make Covid-19 Masks Designed by Biomedical Engineers

Covid-19 Mask N95 Alternative

Texas A&M University Team Designs N95 Mask Alternative

A team consisting of Texas A&M University faculty and graduate students in the Biomedical Engineering department have researched various DIY masks and have developed one they believe is highly effective and takes 10 minutes to assemble using 4 layers of a MERV 13 home air-conditioning filter, staples, wire, and 2 layers of polyester sheer fabric. All materials can be purchased for a total of about $5 per mask (when making 10) at a nearby home improvement or and/or discount store.

For those who are aren’t familiar with Texas A&M it is the sixth largest university in the United States, the largest university in Texas, and a tier 1 research institution.

The team’s goal was to design a mask with “N95-like performance” in both filtering and ability to fit. The video posted on youtube spends some time explaining the deficiencies of other DIY masks, then provides detailed hands-on instructions:

Mask Instruction Video

Instructions for Covid-19 Mask Construction

The team provides written PDF instructions also.

The following materials are used to make the masks at about $5 a piece when making 10:

Mask Bill of Materials

As per the team’s writeup:

The prototype mask was put through in-house qualitative fit testing, which was incorporated into the iterative mask development process. Over thirty prototype designs were created and vetted.. A quantitative fit test was performed with the same parameters as commercial N95 masks for use in a Biosafety-Level-3 laboratory environment. The prototype DIY mask outperformed other commonly available DIY mask designs made using the available information, including several 3D printed varieties, but it did not meet OSHA fit-testing standards required for approved N95 masks.

In summary, a low-cost, easily assembled N95-like mask was produced using materials easily found in most home-supply or hardware stores. The total estimated cost of the prototype mask is less than $5/mask, and it could be assembled in approximately 10 minutes /mask. Its materials are rated to achieve 95% filtering efficiency for 0.3 micron particles which commonly carry viral pathogens. In its current state, it is believed that this prototype may present a viable stopgap measure when rated N95 masks are unavailable, and it is strongly believed to outperform most other DIY masks currently available in light of PE shortages in the healthcare space.”

Packaging and Decontaminating

At the end of its report, the team also provides a method to package and sterilize the masks prior to distributing them by warming them in a 200 F degree.

See the project page, which contains the full instructions in the PDF or the video.

Disclaimer – Not Certified!

The team provides various disclaimers that the masks are NOT rated and NOT sterile and are of course used one’s own risk.

Add Random Post with Shortcodes Ultimate

Wordpress Plugins

Generating a Random Post in WordPress

There are many plugins out there that an generate a random post to be inserted into your website. An example of such a random post is shown to the right of this entry in the box-set off. Some of the plugins come with their own shortcodes. But there’s no need to install another plugin if you have Shortcodes Ultimate installed.

Shortcodes Ultimate by Vladimir Anokhin is a popular plugin for WordPress supplying numerous helpful shortcodes to add various features to your posts.

Using Shortcodes Ultimate to Generate a Random Post

This method permits you to customize the random listing so that it can include only the title, the title and the featured image, or even the entire content.

  1. Install the Shortcodes Ultimate plugin if you haven’t already.
  2. Customize Your Shortcodes Ultimate Template

  3. On your server, in the “wp-content/plugins/shortcodes-ultimate/” folder, create a new file called “random-post.php”. You can do this through the file manager on CPanel or other frontend on your host (or through SSH if you have command line access).
  4. Grab This Code for Your Shortcodes Ultimate Template

  5. Edit the “random-post.php” to add code for your random post – use (and modify if you wish) from one of the following:

    Template Code to Show Random WordPress Post Showing Just the Title and Featured Image:

    Template Code for Random Post To Show Full Content

    Random Template Code To Show The First Few Paragraphs of WordPress Post

    NOTE: This option is not recommended as it will arbitrarily truncate your post content including HTML tags which may mess up the formatting on the rest of the page where this code is inserted) .

  6. After pasting in one of the three above, save the file.

Try Out The Random Post Short Code

  1. Click on the Shortcodes Ultimate button in your editor:

    Shortcodes Ultimate Insert Shortcode Button

  2. A dialog will open. Click on the “Posts” code:

    Shortcodes Ultimate Posts Button

  3. Edit the Template name to read “templates/random-post.php” to match the name of the template you just created.
  4. Screenshot Template Name

  5. Complete the rest of the dialog options. When finished, click “Insert” to insert the Posts short code.
  6. Preview the post to verify that a random post was inserted.

Get Smart with a Smile – O’Reilly Learning Platform for $75 a Year

Oreilly Logo

Iconic Media Publisher

O’Reilly Media is that iconic media publisher most well known for its books having covers featuring hand drawn animals:

Learning React Book Cover

Unlimited Access Through O’Reailly Online Learning Platform

In case you didn’t know, O’Reilly has an awesome online learning platform. Check out O’Reailly’s promotional page and video describing its offerings. Many companies use the excellent platform to train employees.

Access to the premium content normally costs $500 a year for an individual.

Here’s a screen capture of the feature list from the O’Reilly site as of the date of this post:

OReilly Learning Platform Feature List

I’ve personally used the site for several books and courses and can’t believe the value. I have purchased several courses at Udemy for example and this platform solidly outperforms Udemy’s offerings. The O’Reilly site offers all the computer books and training you could ask for on the latest IT technologies and software development. Besides books (including classics, new and pre-release titles, and countless non-O’Reilly publishers), the Learning platform offers daily live seminars, recorded video talks and conferences, and interactive labs – access unlimited for a yearly fee. In addition, O’Reilly has mobile apps that allow you to access all the material on your phone.

So how do you get all of this and more for $75 a year instead of O’Reilly’s price?

ACM Membership Provides Full O’Reilly Platform

The little known secret is that you can access all of the O’Reilly Learning platform by being a member of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM). Professional Membership to the ACM for individuals is typically $100, but is currently on promotion for $75 for new members.

What is ACM ?

Here’s the description on the ACM Website:

CM is the world’s largest computing society, offering benefits that can advance your career and enrich your knowledge with life-long learning resources. Enhance your professional career or academic life with ACM member benefits that include a free subscription to ACM’s flagship publication Communications of the ACM; online books, courses, videos, and webinars through the ACM Learning Center; opportunities to participate in Local Chapters, Special Interest Groups, and conferences all over the world; optional discounted subscription to the ACM Digital Library; savings on peer-driven specialty magazines and research journals, plus other exclusive member discounts.

I recently became an ACM member and have been blown away with the O’Reilly offering.

Skillsoft Tutorials Also Available

And just today I discovered that in addition the O’Reilly Platform, ACM provides access to Skillsoft/Skillport, another excellent learning platform offering countless up to date computer video courses and books. Once you get your ACM membership, just login to for acess.

Why aren’t the benefits of ACM Membership more generally known ?

Probably because ACM is a non-profit and doesn’t go out of its way to advertise the O’Reilly offering. It is just one of many benefits that it offers its members. I found out about the O’Reilly benefit of the ACM membership in an obscure posting on the internet. The ACM website is also old-school and difficult to navigate, filled with lots of obscure references and outdated information. For example, one of the site’s pages mentions that ACM membership provides access to “Safari’s entire collection of 40,000 online books and videos”. Safari is the old name for O’Reilly’s learning platform and the current collection exceeds the 40,000 number. The list of member benefits does mention O’Reilly and Skillsoft but not as a separate line item, only as part of the “Learning Center” description.

Other Benefits of ACM Membership

In addition to O’Reilly, an ACM membership gets you many other benefits, including networking and job boards, the hard copy ACM magazine delivered to your door, various discounts, and access to the ScienceDirect platform and other e-learning sites.

NOTE: Your employer, university, school, or library also may grant you online access from home to the O’Reilly or Skillport platforms for free. My local library provides access to other digital learning platforms, but not O’Reilly.

If free is not an option then don’t hesitate to get your $75 ACM membership now (note that student memberships to the ACM are only $25). I’m getting no commission or payment for this link – I just think it’s an awesome offer.

One final note, you will see many references to the “ACM Digital Library” on the ACM website. The standard membership that includes access to the ACM Digitial Library costs $198. The ACM digital library is NOT the Oreilly platform – it is ACM’s own private library containing loads of technical papers and books – if you are into that sort of thing then spend the extra money but it is not necessary for O’Reilly or Skillport.