STEM students in Boca use 3D technology at home to aid hospitals


STEM students in Boca use 3D technology at home to aid hospitals

With schools in the state closed for the rest of the term, a group of STEM students from A.D. Henderson and FAU high schools in Boca Raton has become industrious. They have spent the last several weeks using 3D printers at home to create personal protection equipment for hospital workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis throughout South Florida.District STEM coordinator Allan Phipps was cranking out face shields in his garage as he spoke during a video conference interview with WPBF 25 News. He got the idea from a former student, and Phipps used a superhero reference in describing his current students’ impact outside the classroom.“The real heroes here are the health care providers,” he said. “I kind of joke with my students that we’re not the heroes but we sometimes sew the capes.”The students range in age from five to 18, the youngest being Phipps’ son. So far, they’ve produced more than 3,400 pieces of equipment, including 1,400 face shields and 2,000 ear savers, which relieve stress caused by face mask straps. The students are not receiving a grade for their work. They’re doing it from the heart.“A lot of the things that you do aren’t worth grades. There’s no grade for doing the right thing,” Phipps said.Phipps said he researched National Institute of Health requirements to ensure his products met government standards. Students deliver their creations to school each week, practicing social distancing at a designated drop-off area. Phipps then places the equipment in boxes, continuing the safety-first procedure.“I would then seal that box up, keep it in quarantine for three days, before I would process these and get them bagged and sealed individually for the nurses and doctors.” Delray Medical Center is one of the many hospitals that have benefited from the goodwill. Delray’s Chief Operating Officer Stephen Garner said his staff has been thrilled with the intubation chambers it has received. These are clear box-like structures that cover patients’ heads to provide a safe barrier between patient and anesthesiologist.“It takes a village for sure when you’re fighting a pandemic,” Garner said. “These young folks have skills and technology that are not readily available, and they provided it to us. We’re very appreciative. It’s amazing.”Phipps says production has slowed recently as Florida reopens, but his team stands ready to sew more capes when needed.

With schools in the state closed for the rest of the term, a group of STEM students from A.D. Henderson and FAU high schools in Boca Raton has become industrious.

They have spent the last several weeks using 3D printers at home to create personal protection equipment for hospital workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis throughout South Florida.

District STEM coordinator Allan Phipps was cranking out face shields in his garage as he spoke during a video conference interview with WPBF 25 News. He got the idea from a former student, and Phipps used a superhero reference in describing his current students’ impact outside the classroom.

“The real heroes here are the health care providers,” he said. “I kind of joke with my students that we’re not the heroes but we sometimes sew the capes.”

The students range in age from five to 18, the youngest being Phipps’ son.

So far, they’ve produced more than 3,400 pieces of equipment, including 1,400 face shields and 2,000 ear savers, which relieve stress caused by face mask straps.

The students are not receiving a grade for their work. They’re doing it from the heart.

“A lot of the things that you do aren’t worth grades. There’s no grade for doing the right thing,” Phipps said.

Phipps said he researched National Institute of Health requirements to ensure his products met government standards.

Students deliver their creations to school each week, practicing social distancing at a designated drop-off area.

Phipps then places the equipment in boxes, continuing the safety-first procedure.

“I would then seal that box up, keep it in quarantine for three days, before I would process these and get them bagged and sealed individually for the nurses and doctors.”

Delray Medical Center is one of the many hospitals that have benefited from the goodwill. Delray’s Chief Operating Officer Stephen Garner said his staff has been thrilled with the intubation chambers it has received. These are clear box-like structures that cover patients’ heads to provide a safe barrier between patient and anesthesiologist.

“It takes a village for sure when you’re fighting a pandemic,” Garner said. “These young folks have skills and technology that are not readily available, and they provided it to us. We’re very appreciative. It’s amazing.”

Phipps says production has slowed recently as Florida reopens, but his team stands ready to sew more capes when needed.


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