A group of Engineers in Edinburgh have decided to tackle the shortages of PPE for NHS staff head-on by pooling their abilities and resources to quickly create personal protective gear for front line NHS staff.
The grassroots initiative have just delivered the first 200 face shields to hospitals in Edinburgh but once their facility is fully online they should be able to make thousands of face shields per week while making their notes and 3d printing designs available for other similar operations online for free.
The team explains on their website that “in times such as these, we believe that newly idle resources and people can be put to use with great effect and impact. Doing so not only helps provide desperately needed PPE, but also empowers and energizes people of all ages and abilities that are stuck at home and looking for a way to help“.
The Edinburgh Hacklab is made up from action-minded researchers, engineers, academics and volunteers who wanted to use their skills to respond to the COVID-19 as it became increasingly clear how bad the epidemic would be.
While the team initially wanted to work on ventilators they quickly determined that ventilators were too complex to produce in a realistic time-frame and after further deliberation and research they settled on producing face shields.
After experimenting with designs the team put together several prototypes which were taken to The Borders hospital. They used the feedback to rank their designs on clarity and stability and the hospital staff approved 2 models to be produced.
One of these models is 3d printed and the other is made by hand. This meant that the team could quickly establish reliable production of the 3d printed face shields while putting together the workflow to create the hand-made protective gear.
They are now working alongside the University of Edinburgh who is providing state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to help scale up our operations.
The team is just one example of the fast-growing global movement of people and organizations who have become proactive in producing PPE equipment for healthcare workers. They now hope to use their expertise to create an outreach strategy to support similar operations irrespective of scale or location.
If you want to support the team you can donate to their Crowd Funder page