DETROIT – As local cases of novel coronavirus mount, a STEM education company for kids is trying to turn the tide by firing up their 3D printers to help healthcare workers in Detroit.
AccelerateKID printed 40 face mask brackets and delivered them to St. John Hospital on Moross Road in Detroit.
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The brackets function as holders for see-through, plastic face shields. Working as one unit, the plastic protectors can be worn by first-responders, nurses or doctors to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19.
“My team wanted to help the healthcare providers and the community to beat COVID-19 in our own way. And the only way we knew how was by using technology,” said AccelerateKID Founder Thanh Tran.
Typically, the organization incorporates 3D modeling and printing in its Digital Arts curriculum for students in grade levels as early as elementary school. Mr. Tran says their two printers can churn out two brackets (one per printer) in one and a half to two hours; producing ten to fifteen of them per day.
Delivery of over three dozen of the first batch is a start, and Mr. Tran foresees tapping in to the network of like-minded makers will go a long way.
“We have a community of makers (who) are doing our part to help make personal protective equipment for health care providers including Steven Teeri of Maker Works in Ann Arbor and Robert Parks of Oak Park," he said.
In fact, Mr. Tran gives Mr. Parks credit for kickstarting AccelerateKID’s adaptive efforts.
“We reached out to Robert Parks from Oak Park, Mich. who shared a 3D bracket model with us," Mr. Tran said.
The model is the blueprint for a 3D printer to manufacture multiple copies a desired product. Continuing,
“(He) has found positive feedback from local hospital usage of his brackets. So we print the brackets to help," he said.
It’s a team effort of innovation. AccelerateKID’s CEO Quoc "Q" Do manages the printing effort and Printing Instructor Ben Rosenblat does the printing from his Walled Lake house. Everyone is conscious of and complying with physical distancing requirements and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. And they are doing it with all of the optimism entrepreneurial educators can bring.
“Despite the economy and how AccelerateKID’s business has slowed to almost a halt, Q and the staff continue to be positive, and building these brackets gives them hope in a way that there’s light at the end of the tunnel," Mr. Tran said.
AccelerateKID can be contacted by phone at 1 (844) 483-2433 and email by clicking here.
Click here for more information on AccelerateKID.