Face Shields Donated
Having wrapped up our first part of the PPE initiative, we wanted to summarise the journey of how we came to produce and donate over 120,000 shields for use in the UK and five other countries. In doing so, we would like to recognise and acknowledge those who played such important roles in this success story.
Before COVID-19 it was business as usual - we were developing 3D printed bionic prosthetics with the goal of democratising access to quality medical devices. When we pivoted to producing face shields, none of us knew what we were getting ourselves into or how much we would learn. We only knew that COVID-19 was serious, healthcare workers desperately needed critical PPE and we wanted to help.
In just 3 months we went from a single 3D printer (12 shields/day) to injection moulding and die cutting (2000 shields/day). As part of our donation initiative, we produced 120,000 shields for essential workers, 60,000 of whom have been in the UK. The remainder have been sent to Armenia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Somalia and Somaliland. These countries have all been battling to secure their own PPE.
Although at times overwhelming, this work has allowed us to have an enormous number of rewarding experiences. The daunting gap between the seemingly infinite demand for equipment and the inadequate supply, encouraged us to continually increase our production capacity. This required countless design iterations, process optimisation, supply chain logistics and, most importantly, communication with healthcare workers as well as other quick-response PPE manufacturers.
We encountered many obstacles and setbacks along the way, some of which threatened to stop the project dead in its tracks. However, with the unwavering perseverance of the Augment Bionics team and our committed volunteers, we managed to overcome those challenges to successfully see the project through to conclusion.
As our production grew, so did our public profile - we have been featured on several global media outlets including CNN and Sky News. This media exposure bolstered the crowdfunding efforts and it also meant that a large number of healthcare workers found out about our work and reached out for help.
With £110,000 raised, over 120,000 face shields produced and countless people protected, we can proudly say that this project has been quite exceptional.
None of this would have been possible without the generous donations and support of our communities. Before recognising the outstanding group of people and organisations involved in this project, we would like to express our thanks to Latymer Upper School. They helped us raise crucial funds for our project and provided access to their facilities and equipment. Our initiative could not have been as impactful if it wasn't for their support.