To our robotics community:
As the battle against COVID-19 continues, the safety of our healthcare workers and first responders becomes ever more paramount as does the demand for adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
We joined forces with the NASA Robotics Alliance Project to engineer, manufacture and donate RobotShields (face shields) and Ear Savers throughout our hometown of Greenville, the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond.
Mentors and students from the Robonauts robotics team, located in Houston, worked to create an original concept, design, and prototype of a face shield. The group explored many different options and quickly settled on a polycarbonate face shield as the most viable option. Our engineering team helped the group take the final step from prototype to a design for manufacturability and mass production.
To make the project a reality, we repurposed our Greenville, Texas manufacturing facility to mass produce the RobotShields. Although it started slow, maximum production capacity is currently 250 per hour allowing for thousands a day which can make a real impact.
Our manufacturing team is also producing an open-sourced version of Ear Savers. Ear savers resemble a comb-like structure with hoops used to loop the straps of face masks relieving the discomfort and pressure on the ears. Current production capacity is 150 every 6 hours. Such PPE have been proven to bring comfort and security to healthcare providers throughout their long shifts and weeks.
Beginning in April, VEX Robotics has donated RobotShields and Ear Savers to medical staff at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort-Worth. Further state support includes Dallas Fire Stations, Texas Health Physicians Group, Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital, University Texas Medical Branch, Houston Physicians Hospital, and Baylor University Medical Center.
The local Hunt Regional Healthcare and 911 systems as well as the County Fire Departments have also received new PPE from VEX Robotics. The effort to reach those on the front line has also expanded outside the state. Some of the pieces will be sent to American Medal Response EMS teams and travelling nurses in New York who are at the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak. Other out of state recipients include Morristown Medical Center, Miami Valley Hospital, WSTF Fire Dept., Children’s Hospital of Minneapolis, and Ketcham Memorial Center.
Share your story & become part of the #RoboticsSavesLives initiative! We hope our story helps to empower innovators everywhere to use their skills to help others during this time.
We have experienced firsthand how the power of community, collaboration, and ingenuity can change lives. We are encouraging the community to join the #RoboticsSavesLives movement by mobilizing these values and common goals to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Please share your story on social media with the hashtag #RoboticsSavesLives to share how the robotics community can come together (while staying safely apart) for the community at large.