Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin are building a new type of ventilator made of cheap, widely available materials to help fill the demand created by the spread of COVID-19 for these critical devices that help patients breathe.

In WIRED, the Cockrell School’s Bob Hebner, director of the Center for Electromechanics at UT Austin, says that the reduced demand on power as businesses shut down and more people work from home gives the electrical grid and utilities some breathing room.

Now, more than ever, we understand the challenges many educational institutions across the nation face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why, in an effort to help mitigate these challenges and reinforce our support to students in Texas and nationwide during this time, The University of Texas at Austin’s Petroleum Extension (PETEX®) will be making all e-learning (e-courses, modules, certificate programs, videos and e-books) available online at no charge to all public high schools and community colleges for the remainder of the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters.

Health care workers treating COVID-19 patients are facing a shortage of face masks and other personal protective equipment that could shield them when exposed to the virus. A group of researchers in the Cockrell School’s Texas Inventionworks innovation hub and UT’s Dell Medical School are exploring new ways to tackle that problem by 3D printing components of these masks.

The contagious nature of COVID-19 puts medical personnel at risk of contracting the virus from the patients they treat. A startup co-founded by University of Texas at Austin engineering professor Andrea Thomaz just landed $10 million in investment to ramp up production of medical robots that could prove a valuable tool in helping doctors and nurses treat patients amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has once again been named one of the best engineering programs in the U.S. In U.S News & World Report’s 2021 graduate engineering program rankings released today, the Cockrell School was ranked No. 10 in the nation (No. 6 among public universities), with several of our engineering programs garnering top 10 rankings as well.

An international research team that includes Benny Freeman, professor in the Cockrell School’s McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has pioneered a new filtration technique that could dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to extract lithium from the earth, taking the process from months and years to hours. This could improve the supply of lithium, which is essential for enabling electric vehicles and for the integration of renewable energy sources.

Since 1985, the Texas Exes has recognized students who have demonstrated remarkable leadership within the Longhorn community with the President’s Leadership Awards. Of the six recipients for 2020, three are Cockrell School of Engineering students: Mamadou Balde, chemical engineering senior, Josefina Salazar Morales, aerospace engineering senior, and Tyson Smiter, mechanical engineering senior.

After graduating from UT Austin in 2010 with a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, Sowmiya Narayanan went on to co-found Lily AI — an AI-based software designed to enhance users’ online shopping experiences — and she now serves as its chief technology officer.

Alumnus Dan Deans (B.S. ASE 1990) recalls having a crisis in college. “I ended my freshman year as a pre-med biology major on scholastic probation, which is when my dad suggested I try engineering. You know, another easy major,” he said jokingly as he reminisced on his early years at UT Austin. “I always loved airplanes, and my dad was a pilot. So, I decided to switch to aerospace engineering. He did me a huge favor that day.”