Chinese American teenagers produce 3D-printed PPE to help save lives

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-11 15:33
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Max Fan, a member of a high school robotics team Technicbots, uses his 3D printer to print out a face shield at home in Plano, Texas, the United States, on April 28, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

HOUSTON - A few days ago, North Central Texas Community Health Care Center received a special donation -- 70 face shields and 300 ear guards. All the equipment was made by local high school students using 3D printing technology.

"The project started in the middle of March after spring holiday," Fang Wang, coach of the high school robotics team Technicbots, told Xinhua during a recent telephone interview.

It was Technicbots that initiated the 3D printing personal protective equipment (PPE) for local health workers. Founded in 2009 in Plano, a city in the state of Texas, the team has taken part in many contests organized by For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), an international youth organization.

Noticing PPE shortages for frontline medical workers since the outbreak of COVID-19, many American Chinese groups in Texas have organized various donations and also encouraged the 10 American Chinese students with Technicbots to make their own contributions.

"We noticed that companies from the United States and Czech Republic have released models of 3D printing PPE and we used them as our original models," Wang said, explaining that 3D printing is the technology the team has been using in the past years.

The team focused on two kinds of PPE products: the face shield that can protect health workers when treating patients, and the ear guard that reduces the pain on ears when wearing masks for a long time.

After finishing a few samples, the team contacted clinics in need for testing and got the feedback before modifying the models. "It took a few weeks to finalize the models after doctors and nurses were absolutely satisfied with the products," said Wang.

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