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Faculty and Staff at Wentworth Institute of Technology Producing Face Shields for Fight Against Pandemic

Boston, MA, April 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A group of faculty members, lab technicians and staff at Wentworth Institute of Technology is producing face shields for Brigham and Women’s Hospital and its epic fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have innovative and creative people from science, engineering and design programs all collaborating on this,” said Sam Montague, chair of Wentworth’s Department of Industrial Design. “Everyone is very eager to use their expertise to help.”

Knowing the Institute had ample willpower, 3-D printers and laser cutters on campus, the Wentworth group began meeting virtually about two weeks ago to hatch the plan to alleviate a critical need for personal protective equipment or PPE at area hospitals.

“This project is part of Wentworth’s DNA,” said Monique Fuchs, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship. “When the community has a need, the university mobilizes.”

She said the face shield collaboration involved stakeholders inside and outside the university, coming together in a time of crisis, with feedback and guidance from the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO); Dana Farber Cancer Institute; the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), elected representatives, City of Boston officials, and other colleges and universities.

Fuchs is a member of the Wentworth COVID-19 response group that includes Montague; Professor Simon Williamson from the Department of Industrial Design; Ryan Bakinowski, lead technician for Advanced Additive Manufacturing; David Mareira, executive-in-residence; and many other faculty and staff.

“I’m really impressed with their work on this,” said Wentworth President Mark A.Thompson, “not only for the public service they’re contributing here, but for their determination to see this project through.

”Under normal circumstances at Wentworth, group members said, students would be on campus and might be leading such an effort, with faculty and staff advising them.

“We were fortunate that Wentworth’s planning group was able to connect with Brighamand Women’s, and that the hospital could accommodate the university’s needs,” said Brian Burns, director of compliance and risk management.

Bakinowski began the printing process on campus on Monday (April 6), using a design from the hospital. The shield headbands are being 3-D printed, and laser cutters are being used to make the plastic shields, he said. He expects that Wentworth can contribute at least dozens if not hundreds of the shields over time. Meanwhile, Williamson and other members of the planning group have formed an Advanced Design Team at the university that is continuing to address the PPE issue. “We're working on an innovative face shield that will allow production times to be 1/10th of the time it takesto print and fabricate,” Williamson said. “We're also focused on the ability to maximize shipping capabilities, facilitating flat packing and simplified out-of-box construction.”


Dennis Nealon
Wentworth Institute of Technology