AMHERST, Mass. – A University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate student produced approximately 400 personal protection face shields for local health care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The shields have been donated to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.
Connor Slover, a graduate student in the architecture program and teaching assistant in the Olver Design Building Fabrication Lab, collaborated with his fellow students to brainstorm about how they could contribute to the growing need for personal protection equipment (PPE).
After evaluating numerous open-source designs for face shields posted on the internet, Slover and his cohort agreed that an “origami” design posted by an engineer named Maxwell Andrews seemed the most practicable for their purposes and based on the materials and resources on hand. Its shapes could be tightly arranged and easily cut on the lab’s laser cutter. The finished product could be delivered completely flat and then fully assembled with minimal folding and manipulation to yield a mask that properly clears the face and eyewear, and adjusts to head size.
Using a variety of equipment in the lab and materials donated by a maker’s space in New Hampshire, Slover was able to produce about 400 face shields between April 12 and 14. The architecture program’s office manager Julie Sarsynski had direct contacts at Baystate and made sure when the shields were delivered the hospital knew who provided them so they could offer feedback for improvements. Initial feedback from Baystate has been very positive, Slover said.
Slover and his cohort have registered with the GetUsPPE campaign as they look into other healthcare facilities and area services such as grocery stores, police and EMT responders in the event that Baystate’s needs are met for the time being. Five Colleges, which is also working on PPE, have offered to defray expenses.