Autodesk's former CEO Carl Bass is a deeply talented artist and maker with his own fab lab in Berkeley. Now, Carl along with his pal Chris Taggart and their families have been cranking out a unique kind of plastic face shield to help protect nurses and doctors on the front lines of COVID-19. In some cases, they've had to be discreet in their donations due to health regulations.
"There are a huge number of people around the country who make stuff and are trying to figure out how to help out," says Bass who is also a member of BLK SHP, a conspiracy of radically creative folks working to make the world a better place.
The shields which cost around $1.50/each to manufacture are free for healthcare providers and financial donations are welcome. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go Carl and Chris!
Over the weekend, working on a design put together by Taggart, the men manufactured 500 pieces of personal protective gear. The design involves snapping a long piece of plastic into a baseball cap….
By Sunday, the 500 shields were gone, handed out for free in plastic-covered packs of 25 to people who had heard through word of mouth about the project. Now the men are gearing up to make tens of thousands more…
The Alameda Health System issued an internal memo on Monday expanding where staff can wear masks and pledging to provide respiratory masks to workers in the ER, labor and delivery, urgent care and psychiatry emergency services. But the memo also prohibited the use of the kinds of shields Bass's shop makes. "Masks brought from home must be commercially manufactured," according to the memo, which Berkeleyside obtained.
This adherence to rigid standards frustrates Bass, although he understands where it is coming from. But it may end up exposing more health workers to the coronavirus, he said.
"I am finding a discrepancy between hospital administrators and distributors and those on the front line," he said. "I spoke to people in the ERs and they said, 'we don't have what we need.'
"Berkeley workshop steps up to make plastic face shields for nurses, doctor" by Frances Dinkelspiel (Berkeleyside)
These are the face shields we made at use in a local ER. We were able to make 500 more today as well as source material for thousands more. We are all very lucky to have such courageous and dedicated people working in our hospitals pic.twitter.com/ktzH8dnNB1
— Carl Bass (@carlbass) March 29, 2020