Amazon engineers develop face shields for frontline workers

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A team of Amazon engineers from its drone delivery unit has worked with a group of 3D printing volunteers to develop reusable face shields for front-line workers, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.

Amazon Prime Air’s mechanical and hardware design teams have adapted the shield designs for the Washington State 3D Face Shield Hub, improving the shields to be more comfortable and the design more practical based on comments from health professionals. The new design, for example, has fewer sharp corners that could catch hair or clothing and a headband that reduces the amount of pressure on the wearer’s forehead.

“When you think of Amazon, you don’t naturally think of hardware design,” Amazon vice president of robotics Brad Porter wrote in the blog. “But many of the company’s teams specialize in this discipline.” The company has reoriented its manufacturing facilities, Porter wrote, converting a machine normally used to cut equipment to make drones into a machine that cuts screens for face shields.

Face shield sales will be limited to front-line workers at first, Amazon said, but the company plans to sell them “at a significantly lower price” than others on the market, Porter said. The design has been approved by the National Institutes of Health and is expected to go on sale soon on Amazon, the company said.

Amazon has also produced an open source design package for 3D printing and injection molding to allow anyone with the equipment to make their own displays. The company says it has already donated 10,000 shields.

Amazon did not respond to an email from The edge asking if he planned to provide face shields to his own workers. Many Amazon warehouse workers have complained that they have not received enough personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of coronavirus in their workplaces.

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