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Wentworth Institute of Technology staff, faculty produce face shields to combat COVID-19

Faculty, staff, and lab technicians at Wentworth Institute of Technology have combined to produce plastic face shields to be donated to Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Because of Wentworth’s supply of laser cutters, 3-D printers, and willing staff, the initiative was a no-brainer, according to Monique Fuchs, associate vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship.

“This project is part of Wentworth’s DNA,” Fuchs said. “When the community has a need, the university mobilizes.”

Ryan Bakinowski, lead technician in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Wentworth COVID-19 response group, began printing face masks April 6 using a design from the hospital. Bakinowski said he expects the Fenway institute to contribute dozens, if not hundreds, of shields over time.

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

Professor Simon Williamson from the Department of Industrial Design and a member of the response group, joined with other members of the response group to form the team that is designing this key part of personal protection equip, which has been in short supply. The team is working on an face shield with a production time 1/10th of the usual time, while focusing on the ability to maximize shipping capabilities with flat packing and simplified construction

Fuchs noted that the initiative involved feedback and guidance from a number of organizations and officials, including the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, City of Boston officials, and the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts.

“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.”

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