Beebe Healthcare will begin printing masks to utilize for its care team thanks to a generous donation of a 3D printer from Cyber Streets.
Cyber Streets, a nonprofit organization that aims at educating communities about cyber security and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) opportunities in daily life, has been working with its members across Kent and Sussex to create masks for their first responders and medical workers.
The group was founded by Rob Bentley, who also is Beebe’s IT Security Manager and member of the Sussex County STEM Alliance.
The prototype developed is a printed to supplement an N-95 mask with a replaceable filter for frontline staff to use in the event of a shortage during a surge. It was recently fit tested and approved by Beebe’s Infection Prevention team. Depending on the size of the mask, one 3D printer can produce roughly 6 or more masks a day per printer.
The Cyber Streets network has already supplied and/or activated 10-plus printers to its members across both counties of which most are using it for their home school programs, while practicing social distancing to keep everyone safe.
“These are extraordinary times for all of us. In response to our national shortage of PPE, we are harnessing common technologies, in an uncommon way, in collaboration with an extraordinary and generous community to protect Beebe Healthcare’s team,” said Mike Maksymow, Chief Information Officer, Beebe Healthcare and Chairman of the Sussex County STEM Alliance. “This also serves as a great example of demonstrating to our children the importance of creative thinking and how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is applied to overcome real world problems and obstacles.”
Bentley and Cyber Streets/Sussex County STEM Alliance community have already donated 30-plus masks to frontline medical staff. Bentley said his goal is to deploy its multi-use masks to be quickly interchanged with varying resources as they continue to run scarce while partnering with several well-known organizations locally and nationally.
Their current goal is on track to have the community manufacture and donate at least 700 masks by mid-May or sooner as long as they continue to maintain the materials needed through dwindling supply chains.
“We at Beebe, Cyber Streets, and Sussex County STEM Alliance have highly driven passion to do what it takes to keep everyone safe in and outside of our business walls” says Bentley. “Right now more than ever, we all not only have an obligation to utilize and harness the power of technology to protect and save lives, but also an opportunity to inclusively engage and activate those who would otherwise not have the same opportunities presented by the digital divide.
“We feel that our first responders need to know that their community truly appreciates their courageous efforts, and this is a wonderful way they can see and feel their support to keep them safe and strong.”