Equipping Emergency Workers using 3D Printing Skills

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought news of worry and concern but also stories of generosity and hope. And this story is no different. In the early days of the pandemic, Nathan '23 and Amrit '22 worked together to create personal protective equipment for emergency workers at the VA Medical Center and Medtronic. 

Both Nathan and Amrit have parents and family friends who work in the medical field so the PPE shortage was felt close to home. "[My parents] have told me how important it was to make sure that medical staff had enough personal protective equipment in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19," said Amrit. "With the large increase in demand for face masks, I hoped to make face shields in order to help medical staff keep their masks clean so they do not need to throw them away."

Amrit and Nathan are both members of the Breck robotics team where they have experience using 3D printers and other tools to make innovative designs -- although usually their work supports a robot. Now, they are taking their skills to help the greater good. After finding a sample of a face shield online, Nathan and Amrit printed dozens of shields for emergency workers. They then used their connections within the robotics community to donate them to medical workers.

"The Apple valley Crushbots Robotics team posted on their Instagram that a mentor for their team works at the VA hospital and PPE was running out quickly," explains Nathan. "Their robotics team was trying to make face shields to keep up with the demand but needed help." Amrit and Nathan were able to donate more than 30 face shields to the emergency workers at the VA medical center and an additional 30-40 masks to COVID-19 screeners at Medtronic.

Their work not only supported our community in this time of need but also connected them to work happening throughout the STEM community as individuals use their creative skills for a new purpose.

"Making face shields for healthcare workers simply made me more hopeful that if more people proactively help to combat the virus we will get through it. The whole stem community's response has been amazing," shared Nathan. 

"The fact that I could have possibly helped to save lives was energizing and made my work feel satisfying," explained Amrit. And we couldn't be more proud of their work.

To learn more about the Breck Robotics program, visit their website or follow them on Twitter.

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