How Might We Use Design To Protect Our Healthcare Professionals?

Since the announcement of COVID-19’s rapid progression in such a short amount of time, our team has been thinking of ways we can assist our helpers on the frontline of this pandemic. During this crisis, we want to address the underlying concerns regarding shortage of PPE during the COVID-19 crisis, and how healthcare professionals on the frontlines are not properly equipped to do their jobs. How can we provide immediate support? Every second counts, and sometimes, the most crude solutions are the most scalable. With Mike’s previous background in designing military products aimed to protect warfighters in the line of duty, “boots on ground” has really taken on a different meaning. Taking matters into his own hands, he assembled a face shield using household supplies and with the help from his personal contact, got it evaluated by our local Kaiser Infection Prevention Committee. The face shield has been approved for use in their COVID rapid response unit. Additionally, we have since received many requests in starting a GoFundMe campaign to help provide these face shields for other local hospitals. It’s a great feeling to know that a simple design process will not only help those in the frontlines, but ultimately, save lives. While we love the idea of donating money for a good cause, we’d much rather see a cohesive effort from anyone that has the time to help, and prompt you to use your hands to craft materials that will allow for more local impact and immediate aid.

Approved by Santa Clara Kaiser’s safety committee!

Recently trending on social media, we’ve seen videos of DIY face masks using rubber bands and bandanas, which is great for the average person going out for essential needs; however, are bandanas enough to keep our healthcare professionals, the ones most at risk, safe? While we see wonderful efforts of large brands focusing on creating or re-creating a complex mask design, our aim was to create an accessible and scalable “open-source build” face shield; one in which you don’t need a background in design or engineering to make yourself. Ultimately, we found inspiration in our own roots: a startup, MVP (Minimal Viable Product) mentality focused on the essence of limited time and resources. We thought, “What can anyone build with a pair of scissors, and access to the internet?” Through understanding that design can go beyond just the product, we aimed to emphasize a “Do It Yourself” process. This way, anyone can contribute tangible help without worrying about sourcing from reputable suppliers, machinery, or large amounts of money. DIY’s have always been all the rage, and with all the time you spend binging your favorite shows or movies on Netflix, is valuable time you can use to help those in need.

Thank you to all healthcare professionals / workers on the frontlines of this pandemic!

So, How Did We Do It?

In an effort to create these face shields, we thought of many possible ways we could mass produce while keeping comfort and safety for our healthcare professionals in mind. 3D printing is great, but when resources are limited, we quickly realized that creating ten face shields in just two hours manually would yield more masks compared to 3D printing two masks in the same amount of time. Plus, how would the average person be able to create this if they didn’t have access to a 3D printer? So, how did we do it?


Make A Change

As previously mentioned, given our availability, we are setting up a GoFundMe with a limit of one thousand dollars to help us create 100-150 face shields for our local hospitals. Through our step-by-step process / walkthrough, and if time allows, we strongly encourage everyone to help in any way they can. Donating money to any cause is always the easiest and quickest route, but we get more of a sense of fulfillment knowing that we are crafting materials for direct and immediate support for those who are essentially risking their lives at work for us everyday. We hope to decentralize the donation of gear by empowering EVERYONE. So again, if you can, donate your time and push yourself to work in ways that can directly aid those in the frontlines. Whether it’s through staying at home and practicing social distancing, or doing your part externally, we can all be a part of the solution. Join us in the effort to flatten the curve!

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