Editor’s note: The following is part of Startland News’ ongoing coverage of the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Kansas City’s entrepreneur community, as well as how innovation is helping to drive a new normal in the ecosystem. Click here to follow related stories as they develop.
An industry leader in design and fabrication, along with its local partners, is putting pandemic over profits — revealing Thursday an open source solution to the global shortage of surgical face shields for medical professionals fighting COVID-19.
“We’ve all witnessed the devastation this coronavirus has caused around the world, so we had to find a way to help,” said Tucker Trotter, CEO of Kansas City-based design firm Dimensional Innovations. “When all the brave medical personnel working around the clock began running out of face shields and other protective equipment, this team started designing a solution that can be sourced and utilized by front-line responders. This face shield can be created and sourced anywhere and provide relief to the current shortage.”
The simple, all-plastic shield — created by InStore Design Display and in collaboration with DI, The Center for Design Research at the University of Kansas, and The University of Kansas Health System — consists of two interlocking plastic parts cut from PETG, a clear plastic sheet material, that provides significant durability, chemical resistance and excellent formability for manufacturing.
“There’s no foam, no elastic. It’s just very easy to produce out of clear plastic sheet material,” said Brandon Wood, Innovation Lab manager at DI, emphasizing no other raw materials are necessary to source for assembly.
DI is releasing the cut file for the face shield — along with all the other versions created leading up to the final design — as well as step-by-step instructions for how to make the various headband designs and how to assemble the masks, Wood said.
Click here to learn more or download the design.
“Anyone who has a CNC router, laser cutter — something that can cut flat sheets — can definitely use this, and you can be producing face shields quickly,” he added, noting DI’s hope that mass distribution and wide accessibility of the designs will encourage producers to make and supply the face shields to their local hospitals and medical centers.
Once cut out, the face shields can be flat packed, boxed up and shipped out immediately. Hospital staff can then easily assemble on site as needed.
DI’s Trotter is among a group of Kansas City business leaders — including Nathaniel Hagedorn, Tyler Nottberg, Dave Cummings, Andy Deister and Taimoor Nana — spearheading a local effort to combat COVID-19 in the Midwest and throughout the nation by calling on business leaders to take action.
Click here to learn more about Dimensional Innovations.