RE2 Robotics, a Carnegie Mellon spinoff and a provider of robotic mobile manipulator arms, has begun to fabricate face shields for small- and medium-sized clinics in collaboration with PPE Connect PGH and its coalition of local universities and manufacturers.
The goal of PPE Connect PGH is to help healthcare workers on the front line in the fight against Covid-19 to locate sources of existing idle Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Funding for the PPE Connect PGH effort is being provided by the Allegheny County Medical Society Foundation (ACMS) Covid-19 Front Line Relief Fund.
“We aim to bring awareness to the growing shortage of personal protection equipment, discover untapped sources of available equipment in the area, create useful DIY equipment, and make the donation of these supplies more convenient and directed,” stated Alejandro Sklar, co-founder, PPE Connect PGH.
RE2 is using its 3D-printing capabilities to fabricate parts for face shields that are being collected and distributed by PPE Connect PGH.
The face shields, along with all of the PPE donations, are available at no cost to smaller health care entities such as community clinics, nursing homes, and independent facilities in the Pittsburgh region.
Providers can request traditional PPE and face shields on the PPE Connect PGH website. Individuals and organizations with supplies available for donation can submit a donation form and PPE Connect PGH volunteers will pick up the donated PPE supplies.
Davit Davitian, co-founder, PPE Connect PGH, says: “Our primary goal is to find sources of new unused PPE, such as in peoples’ homes or on shelves within organizations.
“Donations are being distributed to small- and medium-sized providers that don’t have the PPE buying power like the large hospitals in our region.
“The most in need types of PPE are N95 Respirators and surgical masks, which don’t need to be FDA approved versions. NIOSH approved equipment used for construction and home improvement are perfectly acceptable.”
Jorgen Pedersen, president and CEO of RE2 Robotics, says: “RE2 learned about this opportunity to utilize our 3D printing and fabrication capabilities to serve the healthcare workers within our city from Innovation Works.
“I reached out to IW to determine how RE2 could help and they introduced me to the incredible team at PPE Connect PGH.
“We currently have five 3D printers running around the clock to create parts for face shields. I am grateful that we can use our equipment and skills to give back to our city’s healthcare workers and our community.”
According to the team at PPE Connect PGH, in the first two weeks the organization has been able to collect and distribute almost 400 N95 respirators, all of which were donated by individuals within the Pittsburgh region.
However, requests still outnumber donations. For more information about donating PPE, please visit the PPE Connect PGH website at ppeconnectpgh.com. Financial donations can be made on the ACMS website at acms.org.