There are so many things And ICU doctors and nurses have to think about right now.
The last thing they should be worried about is whether they have the proper equipment to keep themselves safe.
In today’s world, one of the most important pieces of gear for them is the face shield.
That’s because the face shield is essentially a second layer of protection and can extend the life of a face mask.
And in the middle of pandemic face shield supplies are critically low.
It’s estimated that the US care workers could need 10 of millions of them each month.
Enter a group led by minds from MIT that was looking for ways to help healthcare workers.
They came up with a way to make an innovative new facial design quickly on the cheap.
My sister is a nurse and my sister in law is a respiratory therapist and I do not like the idea of them not having what they need.
And so the facial it’s stood out is one of those things that it was not a super complex thing to me.
And it would have big impact.
Engineering Professor Martin Culpepper worked with healthcare workers and other partners from MIT.
They design this single piece foldable face shield that’s manufactured using a laser cutter.
Call pepper says the manufacturing process is a little like baking cookies.
Was a plastic sheet coming through a machine and a bunch of what we call dice that are essentially the cookie cutters.
That cuts the shape out and out the end of the machine.
You get a bunch of the facials.
Fly out, get put in a box with instructions and then you ship them.
A single cutting machine can make thousands of these in a day.
Compare that to a 3d printer which can take an hour just to print the parts for one shield.
And because the foldable shields come out in a flat single piece, hundreds can be shipped in a single box.
And one of the things that hospitals don’t have an abundance of is space so it had to store a minimum volume.
Once the boxes are in the hospital workers just need of fold up the shields to fit their faces.
Cole pepper worked closely with cardiologist and fellow MIT faculty member Dr. Eliza Edelman.
Edelman says the face shield gives healthcare workers one of the most important things in this environment, peace of mind.
Anxiety, uncertainty, the risk of the unseen and the unknown preys on everyone’s mind.
Not because most care workers are worried about getting sick What they’re worried about is spreading infection.
When we brought in prototypes for people to try, they were impressed with the design.
They thought it was incredibly innovative and creative.
The bottom line here is also a huge win.
These facials can be produced on the cheap, less than three bucks a pop We did a lot of work online, looking at pre pandemic prices for face shields, but then also you know what people are paying now.
And our job was to get that price down to the point where at least it’s the same that people were paying now.
We were able to accomplish.
Like most of us, Cole pepper is working from home right now and went through about 10 iterations of the mass before landing on this final version.
And having this family around, turned out to be key in the design process
Late at night.
I was trying to figure out part of the design Just kind of get it figured out.
And my son and daughter were there.
And you know, they said, Well, why don’t you try this?
We drew it up, ran downstairs on the laser cutter and threw that thing in and in 40 seconds we had a prototype they did exactly what we needed it to do was a great sense of relief that we were going to be able to give people the things that they needed to do their job.
Now the team already found a supply chain to start mass production.
MIT and a local supplier they’re gonna buy the first hundred thousand masks and donate them to local Boston area hospitals and other hospitals across the country.
We’ve had a lot of people donating material that wanting to transport things for free.
Now of all the things going on in the world right now that is one bright spot In terms of people are coming together to try to do good in this.