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BME health science engineering undergraduate student Olivia Burston has been volunteering at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Be a Maker Space (BeAM) to assemble face shields against COVID-19. These face shields are essential equipment that protect the facial areas (eyes, nose, mouth) of health care professionals who are treating COVID-19 patients.

With physical production beginning the week of March 30, UNC-Chapel Hill faculty, medical students and the BeAM makerspaces – along with universities and other industry partners across the state – have joined together to make tens of thousands of medical face shields by the end of April 2020. The face shields will be donated to UNC Hospitals or other health care organizations, where there is a shortage in personal protective equipment due to the global pandemic.

Olivia says, “I’ve been helping a lot with making face shields and I got to teach the Chancellor how to assemble one!” The shield is comprised of several components. A clear plastic visor sits in front of the face. The visor is held in place by a piece of foam that presses against the forehead and a strap made of elastic or a braided webbing material that stretches behind the head. The face shield design was led by UNC-Chapel Hill faculty Rich Superfine, Glenn Walters and Theo Dingemans in consultation with colleagues at NC State University and Duke University. All parts were designed and specified by the UNC BeAM team. Thank you Olivia and all volunteers for this much needed effort! You can read more about this initiative on the Innovate Carolina website here.


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