Amazon announced Thursday that the retail website will soon make hundreds of thousands of face shields available for sale amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The face shields -- which will be listed at almost a third of the cost, officials say -- will be reserved for frontline workers initially and will eventually be available to all Amazon customers.
The face shields were engineered by Amazon’s drone delivery staff and were 3D printed by a community group in Washington state, officials said. The groups worked together to redesign face shields for comfort based on health care professionals’ feedback, while also meeting the National Institute of Health (NIH)'s standards for the medical equipment.
Face shields, and other personal protective equipment like masks and gowns, have been in high demand and low supply across the country due to the pandemic. Amazon is joining a large number of national and local organizations who have repurposed manufacturing and supply chains to produce the much needed equipment for health care workers on the frontlines.
Amazon officials say they are sharing an open source design package for creating face shields using 3D printing or injection molding methods so that anyone can produce them.
The company has donated 10,000 face shields to medical professionals around the U.S. and plans to deliver another 20,000 in the next few weeks.