Breakthrough Initiative Addresses Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for Nation’s Healthcare Workers in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

March 24, 2020 GMT

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 24, 2020--

Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), the Southeast’s first and only comprehensive medical device innovation center, today announced a collaboration that addresses the severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for protecting the nation’s hospital workers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative provides, free-of-charge, the designs, with necessary regulatory guidance, for any Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant manufacturing facility to use in the production and distribution of face shields to healthcare workers.

The initiative is a collaboration between GCMI; Dr. Joanna Newton, Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist, Aflac Center and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center; and a team of scientists and researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and its Invention Studio.

“Our goal is to enable manufacturers to produce hundreds of face shields per day to provide to healthcare workers and hospitals around the nation, as well as to provide the open source design for others to fabricate these shields anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Newton. “The initiative was borne out of necessity due to the PPE shortage facing hospital and healthcare workers around the country in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unprecedented time for all of us and collaboration is key to finding solutions.”

The face shield intends to extend the use life of the current N95 inventory, while protecting the healthcare professional from contamination events. The shield is a clear barrier covering the user’s face that reduces the amount of virus contacting the user’s eyes and respiratory mask.

“Our team has been working toward rapid response for the mass manufacturable face shields,” said Dr. Chris Saldana, Associate Professor of Manufacturing at Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “In coming up with this design, we have explored both rigid frame and origami-style face shields for open source design and manufacture of these critical products. We have been fortunate to leverage multiple rapid prototyping and manufacturing capabilities at both Georgia Tech’s Invention Studio and at the Global Center for Medical Innovation.”

The collaboration is providing its GMP compliant face shield design to manufacturers free-of-charge, enabling them to use their facilities to produce the shields. Within just four days, the team’s collective resources developed a face shield Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and prototype that is available for use.

For additional information, please visit the GCMI’s website.

About Global Center for Medical Innovation

The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) is the Southeast’s first and only comprehensive medical device innovation center, dedicated to accelerating development, building businesses and improving health. GCMI opened its doors in April 2012 and to date has worked with over 50 different startups, clinician innovators, university tech transfer offices and academic researchers to design, engineer, prototype, and facilitate commercialization of a broad range of innovative medical devices.

About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology

The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Technology Center is part of the Georgia Institute of Technology. The center facilitates collaboration between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta clinicians, doctors, and researchers conducting fundamental and translational research to advance children’s health and delivery of pediatric services in a broad range of research areas.

About Invention Studio at the Georgia Institute of Technology

The Invention Studio is a student-run organization located in the Flower’s Invention Studio on Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus in Atlanta, GA. The studio supports all students, staff, and faculty in building their dream projects, whether for research, personal or academic usage. The studio’s tools are 100% free to use.

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Amy Leiter




SOURCE: Global Center for Medical Innovation

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