The Texas A&M College of Architecture is producing 3D printed surgical face shields for the emergency department at a local hospital. It is hoped that the pilot project will quickly lead to the college making additional shields to help lessen the critical shortage of protective gear for healthcare workers.
“It is our hope that the face shields we produce will safeguard healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to save patients,” said Dawn Jourdan, executive associate dean of the college. “We are looking for ways to use our resources to make a positive impact during this crisis.”
The demand for medical care is soaring as healthcare workers race to test and treat coronavirus patients, although many nurses, doctors and other frontline workers are without face shields, masks, surgical gowns, or eye gear to protect them from the virus.
If a sufficient amount of source materials can be acquired, Jourdan anticipates that the college could print up to 100 of the shields per day, while providing work for students. Many students within the college lost their student worker positions when the university began delivering all courses online.
“Under the direction of a staff member, our student workers will be printing the shields in areas that will be appropriately cleaned and set up to facilitate social distancing,” said Jourdan. “We are all proud to be able to contribute to the greater good during this crisis.”
The shields will be printed in the college’s MakerPlace, where any Texas A&M student, staff or faculty member can work on creative projects that require 3D printing, laser or vinyl cutting.
The college is in conversations with other campus and regional organizations to coordinate a joint effort among those who have 3D printers that can print the specialty shields, and who may be able to provide source materials such as the .04 acrylic that is needed.
Diane L. Oswald