POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A local university and it’s students are helping combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Central Florida.
A team of eight staff and students at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland are using 3D printers to produce components for protective face shields.
“I am primarily concerned about our first-line responders and their health and safety. I am still somewhat shocked that this crisis somehow involves an engineer on a university campus, so I am trying to do everything I possibly can,” said Dr. Matt Bohm, the director of industry engagement and capstone projects at Florida Poly.
The face shields will ultimately be used by health care workers at AdventHealth who are on the frontlines battling the virus.
“A few weeks ago, some of our current partners at the Nicholson Center, which is part of AdventHealth, reached out to me in anticipation of a shortage here in Centeral Florida,” said Bohm. “They asked if we could help print the Prusaprinter.org RC3 face shields.”
Now, 20 of the university’s printers are being used for the project and can create one to two face shield headbands in a four- to five-hour time span.
“There was some back and forth on what materials would be acceptable, how they would be sanitized. Then we had to get permission from the university that we didn’t open ourselves to liabilities. So, we have been printing them for a while,” he said.
Bohm hopes three to four thousand face shield components will be produced and ready to send off by the end of the month.
“We have a team of technicians and students on the ground and in the building trying to get as many of these facial components made as possible. We are just making the headband and lower chin piece for the transparent part. The Nicholson Center is putting together the elastic strap and the transparency piece.”
Florida Poly Tech told WFLA.com they are practicing social distancing while manufacturing the face shields and are only allowing one person in the Innovation, Science, and Technology lab at a time and sanitizing tools after each use.
WHAT TO KNOW:
- Florida is reporting 47,471 cases and 2,069 deaths
- Florida K-12 schools will remain online/distance learning through the end of the school year
- Florida in Phase One of reopening
- Travelers from NY tri-state area and New Orleans coming to Florida must quarantine for 14 days
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