Early last week, Lennon Rodgers, director of the Engineering Design Innovation Lab at University of Wisconsin-Madison, got an urgent email from the university’s hospital. Could his lab make 1,000 face shields to protect staff testing and treating Covid-19 patients? The hospital’s usual suppliers were out of stock, due to the spike in demand prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Last Thursday, the hospital approved the prototype. Rodgers posted the design online for others to use and the ad hoc collective began to ramp up production. They have since sent more than than 1,000 face shields to the UW Hospital. Ford has picked up the open source design, and expects to produce more than 75,000 this week at subsidiary Troy Design and Manufacturing in Plymouth, Michigan. The company plans to send the initial run to Detroit area hospitals.