Proto: Constructing a Solution-Oriented Design Network Amongst the UVa Health System and Engineering Undergraduates;3D Printing Firearms: An Actor Network Theory Analysis of the Failure of the U.S. Firearm Regulatory Network

Landsman, Zackary, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Laugelli, Benjamin, University of Virginia
Chen, David, MD-BIOM Biomedical Eng, University of Virginia

My technical work and my STS research are connected primarily through the production of networks. Networks are the basis of every organization, society, community, and association. They allow for many different actors to come together to work towards a common goal. My technical project explores the construction of a new network while my research paper investigates the failure of a network. My technical project is working to reduce the effects of burnout on clinicians while increasing the amount of pre-industry experience opportunities for undergraduate engineers. The execution is a solution oriented prototyping network that employs the design process to produce tangible and measurable results. My STS research paper examines a network builder’s failure to follow the steps of translation necessary for network building, which led to the endangerment of the public they sought to serve. My STS research paper looks at an unsuccessful network builder to better understand how to build the network for healthcare clinicians and engineering students that serves the common goal and protects the safety of the actors.
Our* technical project is a solution oriented prototyping network connecting design problems in the University of Virginia Health network with engineering students to create local impacts. Health care professionals are the caretakers in our health community, but there is little to no care for the stress and burnout they face in their work. We recognized the immense untapped potential of UVA engineering students who have the mind and skill set to solve complex problems and identified unresolved design problems faced by healthcare professionals. This opportunity provides students a way to apply the skills and knowledge taught in class to an applicable problem faced by working professionals. Through our network, students can receive professional guidance by clinical advisors as they develop tangible solutions for pertinent design projects. This spring semester, we were able to recruit eight participating members to fill out three project teams. All teams will continue their project into the next upcoming school year with their clinical advisors to develop prototypes of the design solution. We believe that the connection between students and clinicians would allow for beneficial experiences for students that create solutions with a positive impact on the daily life of the clinicians. they just need a network built to connect them as easily as possible.
My STS research paper sought to examine the case of 3D printed firearms and Eric McGinnis’s acquisition of automatic weapons despite failing US background checks. The failure of the U.S. government to work preemptively, even though it recognized the relevant role 3D printing possessed for the U.S. gun regulation network, is only further exacerbated by a continued pattern of inaction to properly regulate the technology to protect its citizens. The U.S. government’s unethical service to the network as the primary actor actively enabled the cases of the “Liberator” and Eric McGinnis by lack of regulation. Proactive implementation of regulations must be created along with emerging technology. By introducing regulation as a reactionary measure, one must wait for there to be an incident to react to. Understanding how the failure to function as a regulatory actor proactively is necessary as we aim to build a network of our own.
My work on both projects this year has helped me better understand the important work of network building. By examining the failure of the US gun regulation network, I have learned the importance of the primary actor in a network. The network and its actors gain power through association, but it is the primary actor’s role to ensure all actors are working towards the set goal. By working on both projects, I have learned from the mistakes of one network builder, to create a network that works to avoid the mistakes of lacking preventative care. It is a large responsibility to create a network, and by researching the US gun regulation network I worked to understand the role we were creating for ourselves as we built one of our own.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Network, Actor-Network, 3-D Printed, Firearms, Burnout, Design, Student Experience, Gun Control

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Technical Advisor: David Chen

STS Advisor: Benjamin Laugelli

Technical Team Members: Aidan Houser, Sarah Trans, Zack Landsman

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