As personal protective equipment remains in short supply, Amazon has designed its own face shields for medical professionals and other front-line workers.
The e-commerce behemoth announced today that it is offering packs of 25 face shields on its website — with each bundle costing $66.25, or $2.65 per covering. The protective masks were created by a group of 3D printing enthusiasts in Washington State, in conjunction with Amazon Prime Air drone engineers.
According to Amazon, the teams made upgrades to the shields’ designs based on direct feedback from medical professionals, such as improving the quality of the materials to allow their repeated use, adding a snap feature to keep the covering in place and reducing sharp edges that could snag clothing or hair. The designers also considered thinning the band to reduce pressure on the wearer’s forehead and improving print time to speed up the manufacturing process.
“Because of the design innovations and the capabilities of our supply chain, we are confident we will be able to list them at a significantly lower price — almost a third of the cost — than all other reusable face shields currently available to front-line workers,” said robotics engineer Brad Porter, who brought in colleagues from Prime Air’s mechanical design and hardware teams to help design the masks. “We are looking to prioritize front-line workers and then eventually open up to all Amazon customers.”
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To date, Amazon said it has donated nearly 10,000 face shields and is on track to deliver 20,000 more in the coming weeks. It pledged to give away an additional 150,000 by the end of the year.
What’s more, individuals and businesses are encouraged to make their own National Institutes of Health-approved face shields by downloading the open-sourced design package — suitable for both 3D printing and injection molding — on the retailer’s website.
“It’s important that these critical supplies get to healthcare and government organizations, and we want to help make that happen — whether that’s working with the open-source community, donating the shields or selling these essential supplies,” Porter added. “We are committed to leveraging our scale for good and putting our ability to innovate quickly into use to support communities.”